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Other volumes in the series 

Folk Tales of Andhra Pradesh by B.R. Raju 

Folk Tales of Assam by Mira Pakrasi 

Folk Tales of Bengal by Geeta Majumdar 

Folk Tales of Bihar by Mira Pakrasi 

Folk Tales of Gujarat by Tara Bose 

Folk Tales of Haryana by Chaudhury & Srivastava 

Folk Tales of Himachal Pradesh by K.A. Seethalakshmi 

Folk Tales of Kashmir by Bani Roy Chaudhury 

Folk Tales of Karnataka by Satish Chandran 

Folk Tales of Kerala by K. Jacob 

Folk Tales of Madhya Pradesh by S. Parmar 
Folk Tales of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh 
by B.K. Borgohain 

Folk Tales of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura 
by Borgohain & P.C. Roy Chaudhury 
Folk Tales of Orissa by Shanti Mahanty 
Folk Tales of Pondicherry by P. Raja 
Folk Tales of Punjab by Mulk Raj Anand 
Folk Tales of Rajasthan by B.R. Chaudhury 
Folk Tales of The Santhals by LR. Chaudhury 
Folk Tales of Tamil Nadu by K.A. Seethalakshmi 
Folk Tales of Uttar Pradesh by K.P. Bahadur 

Rs 35.00 each volume 








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India has a legacy of rich and varied folklore. While re- 
search in ancient and modern history has, been directed in re- 

. % 

cent decades more to the political shifts, little notice has 
been paid to the culture, complex traditions and social beliefs 

of the common people. The sociologists should pay a gdod 

< % 

deal of attention to the customs and beliefs of the people and 
to changes therein through the ages. They have rather neglect- 
ed the study of folklore which is a reliable index to the back- 
ground of the people. There has always been an easy mobility 
of folklore through pilgrimages, melas and fairs. The wandering 
minstrels. sadhus and fakirs have also disseminated them. 
People of the north visiting the temples of the south and vice- 
versa carry their folk tales, songs, riddles and proverbs with them 
> and there is an inconspicuous integration. The dhurnuisalas, 
inns and the that t is (places where the pilgrims rejt and inter- 
mingle) worked as the clearing house for the folk tales, tradi- 
tional songs and riddles. That is why we find a somewhat 
common pattern in folk literature of different regions. The 
same type of folk tale will be found in Kashmir and in Kerala 
with slight regional variation. These stories were passed on 
from generation to generation by word of mouth before they 
carrie to be reduced to writing. 

Folklorists have different approaches to the appreciation 
of folklore. Max Mueller has interpreted the common pattern 
in folk literature as evidence of nature-myths. Sir L. Gomme 
thought that a historical approach is the best for the study of 
folklore. But Frazer would rather encourage a com monsense 
approach and to him, old and popular folk literature is mu> 
tually interdependent and satisfies the' basic curiosities and 
instincts of man. That folklore is a vital element in a living 

culture has been underlined in recent years by scholars like. 

* • " ^ 

Malinowski and Radcliffe Brown. 

.It is unfortunate that the study of folklore in India is of 
very recent origin. This is all the more regrettable because the 





Pane hat antra stories which had their origin in Bihar had 
spread through various channels almost throughout the world. 
As late as in 1859, T. Benfey held that there is an unmistak- 
able stamp of Indian origin in most of the fairy tales of Europe. 
The same stories with different twists and settings have come 
back to us through Grimm and Aesop and the retold stories 
delight our children. That lndia has neglected a proper study 
of the beautiful motifs of our folk tales is seen in the fact that 
the two large volumes of the dictionary of Folklore, Mytho- 
logy and Legend published by Messrs Funk and Wagnall and 
Company of New York have given a very inadequate reference 
to India. 

What is the secret of the, fascination that the folk tales 
hold for the old, the young and the very young ? The same 
story is often repeated but does not lose its interest. This is 
due to the satisfaction that our basic curiosity finds in the folk 
tales. The tales through fantasies, make-believe and credu- 
lous acceptance helped primitive man to satisfy his curiosity 
about the mysteries of the world and particularly the many 
inexplicable phenomena of nature around him. We have an 
element of primitiveness in our minds in spite of the advance- 
ment of science around us. Even a scientist finds great delight 
, in the fairy tales like the one about the moon being swallowed, 
causing lunar eclipse. Through the folk, tales man exercised 
his imagination and somehow or other we would like to retain 
that practice even when we have grown up. The advance- 
ment in science can never banish the folk tales. On the other 
hand, folk tales have helped the scientific curiosity of men: In 
spite of the scientific explanation as to why earthquakes take 
placet the old, the young and children would still be delighted 
to be told that the world rests on the hood of a great snake and 
when the snake is tired with its weight, it shakes the hood and 
there is an earthquake. Among the Mflndas, an aboriginal tribe 
in Bihar, there is a wonderful explanation of the constellation, 
Orion, The sword and belt of Orion, the Mundas imagined, form 
their appropriate likeness to the plough and plough-share 
which the supreme Sing Bonga God first shaped in the heavens - 
and then taught people on earth how to use the plough and the 
plough-share. It is further said in the Munda folk tale that 




• %• 

while the Sing Bonga was shaping the plough and the plough- 
share with a chisel and a hammer he observed a dove hatching 
* its eggs at a little distance. The Sing Bpnga threw his hammer at 
the dove to bag the game. He missed his mark and the hammer 
went over the. dove’s head and hung on a tree. The hammer 
corresponds to the Pleiads which resemble a hammer. 1 The 
Aldebaran is' the dove and the other stars of the Hyades are 
the eggs of the dove. Any illiterate Munda boy will unmistak- 
ably point out these constellations, 

4 • 

A > 

Weather and climate have their own stories and are often 
connected with particular stages of the crops. The wet season 
and the hottest month are intimately associated with the ripen- 
ing of crops or the blossoming of trees or the frequency of 
- dust-storms and stories are woven round them. But nothing 
is more satisfying as a folk tale than the explanation of the 
phases of the stars, the moon and the sun. -A Munda would 

I ^ ' 

point out the milky way as the Gai Horn, i.e. the path’ of the 
cows. The Sing Bonga God leads his cows every day along this 
path— the dusky path on the sky is due to the dust raised by the 
herd. The dust raised by the cows sends down the rain. A story 
.of this type can never fail to sustain interest in spite all the 
scientific explanation of the astral- bodies. 

The ‘why* -and ‘wherefore’ of the, primitive mind tried to 
seek an answer in the surrounding animal and plant kingdom. 
Animals are grouped into different categories 'according to 
their intelligence and other habits. The fox is always sly while 
the cow is gentle. The lion and the tiger have a majestic air 
while the horse is swift, sleek and intelligent. The slow-going - 
elephant does not forget its attendant ' nor doe^ he forget a 
man that teases him. Monkeys are very close to man." The 
peacock is gay while the crow is shrewd. The tortoise is slow- 
going but sure-footed. The hare is swift but apt to laze on the 
road. These characteristics of the common animals are accept- 
able even today. Similarly, a large and shady peepal 
tree is naturally associated with the abode of the sylvan 
god. The thick jungle with its trees and foliage Is known to be’ 
frequented by thieves and dacoit£ Any solitary hut in the heart 
of the forest must be associated with someone unscrupulous or 



uncanny. These ideas are commonly woven into stories and 
through them the primitive mind seeks to satisfy the eternal 
why and how of the mind. Folk literature is often crude 
dnd even grotesque. The stories of the witches and the ogres 
come in this category. There is nothing to be surprised at that. 
Scientific accuracy should never be looked for in folk tales 
although they are a very good index of the social developments 

of a particular time. 


The last source of the folk tales is human society itself. 
The elemental moorings that are at the root of human socieU 
are. sought to be illustrated in folk tales. , the day-to-day lile 
•of the common man finds its full depiction in the folk tales. 
Parental love, family happiness, children’s adventurous habits, 
love and fear of the unkppwn, greed, etc. are some pf the usual 
themes of folk tales. The «eidmon man yearns for riches and 
comforts he cannot usually * look for. He dreams of riches, 
princes, kingdoms, etc. and finds satisfaction in stories and 
fantasy. Men love gossip and scandal. Women cannot keep 
secrets, children will love their parents, a mother-in-law will 
always think the daughter-in-law needs advice — these are some 
of the basic ideas that make up much of our daily life. The 
folk tales are woven round them and whether fantastic or with 
a moral undertone they only reflect the day-to-day life, the 
joys and sorrows of the common man. 

Unknowingly, the folklorists .bring in the religious cus- 
toms, beliefs, fpod habits, modes of dress, superstitions, , etc. 
and thereby leave a picture of the culture-complex of' the - 
region, and its people. A tribal story does not picture a king 
riding a large, white, foaming horse followed by hundreds of 
other horsemen going for a shikar . In a tribal story the Raja 
will be found cutting the gTass and bringing back a stack of 
it to feed his cows, but a folk tale more current in urban areas 
will have large palaces, liveried-servants, ministers and courtiers 
in the king’s court. The very fact that the folk tales have woven 
man, nature, animal and plant creation together shows the 
great flight of imagination and singular development of mind. 
Introduction of moral lessons or any dogma was not done as 
an after-thought but came iti as a very natural development.- 




The time and the venue of the origin of the stories . are widely 
different. It is here that the sociologists and the anthropo- 
logists come in useful. As life is different in rural and urban 
areas or is chequered With goodness or badness in the world 
so is folk literature diversified, as it must be, being a replica of 
life. ' 

• 9 * * % 


These beautiful folk tales in India were almost on the 
point of disappearance when a few pioneers mostly consisting 
of foreign missionaries and European scholars looked into 
them and made compilations from different parts of India. 
Our present run of grandmothers know very few of these 
tales. The professional story-tellers who were very dearly 
sought after by the old and the yohng, not to speak of the 
children, have almost completely disappeared from India. 
The film industry and the film songs pose a definite threat to 
folklore.. ' 

Sterling Publishers are to be congratulated for laun- 
ching the project of publishing a compilation of 21 volumes 
consisting of the folk tales of different regions. The work was 
. entrusted to specially selected * writers who had an inti- 
mate knowledge of their regions. The regional elements of 
the stories have been sought to be preserved as far as possible. 
The stories have an elemental involvement , about them and 
they are such as are expected to appeal to the child and 
its parents. We expect the reader to experience the 
atmosphere of different regions after reading the various folk 
tales. We want him to have an idea of how Kashmiri folk 
retire in wintry nights with the Kangri under the folds of their 
clothes to enjoy a gossip, their love for highly spiced meaty 
food. We want him to appreciate the splendour of colours in 

the sari and the flowers that are a must in Tamil Nadu. 

* ■* 

We want him to know the stories that are behind some of 
the famous temples in the South such as the Kanjeevaram 
temple. . We want him to know the story regarding the 
construction of the famous Konarak temple. We want 
him tp enjoy the stories of the heroes of Gujarat, Punjab 
and Rajasthan in their particular roles. We want the 

reader to have an idea of the peace and quiet of a hut in the 

1 -• l - 





lap of the Kumaon hills. We want the reader to enjoy some of 
the folk tales of Bengal and Bihar that have found wings in other 
parts of India and to appreciate the village life with its Alpana 
an d Bratas. At the same time we want the reader to know the 
customs and manners of the Santhals, Garos, and the other 
tribes inhabiting NEFA and Assam. 

4 • • 


The publishers want to have a miniature India in 
these volumes of. folk tales of the different regions of India. It 
is an ambitious project. The authors have to be thanked for 
their interest in the work. I am sure they have enjoyed the 
assignments. It is hoped that the books will be found useful 
and interesting to the public. I have no hesitation in saying 
that the stories of the different areas do make up a miniature 
ndia. It is hoped the reader will enjoy the stories and will 
ometo know a little of each region and its people. 

P.C. Roy Chaudhury 








Maharashtra has a hoary past. References to Vidarbha, 
one of its ancientmost regions, are found even in the Vedas 1 
Legendary heroines like Lord Krishna’s wife Rukmini, Aja’s 
wife Indumati, Damayanti, Loparaudra the wife of sage 
Agasthya were all daughters of the Vidarbha kings. It is 
said that the valiant warrior-sage Parashurama had settled in 
‘Aparanta’ now identified as ‘Konkan*. 

The boundaries of Maharashtra at one time had extended 
from the western coast to the end of Balaghat ranges in the 
east, from Narmada in the north, up to Maharashtra and 
Tanjore in the south. There is also a marked variety of its 
people. '■ 

The area has various Adivasi tribes like Gond, Korku', 
Bhil, Kolam, Lainan, Warli, Katkari, Koli, Banjara, etc. It 
has many holy places and famous temples. The region of Goa 
is picturesque. 

We have a variety of Adivasi myths and legends, tradi- 
tional mythological stories told by ‘Gondhalis’ and ‘Kirtankars’, 
stories about temples and popular deities like Vithoba, 
Khandoba, Bhawani, Mangesha and Jyotirlingas of Shiva, his- 
torical legends of the brave Maratha warriors and kings sung, 
in ‘Powadas’ stories, tales with a Christian background, fairy 
and nursery tales told by the grandmothers. 

The oldest form of the Marathi folk tale which ts available 
in the written form is that of a fable of “The Crow- and a 
Sparrow”, narrated in Leelacharitra, the biography of the 
founder of ‘MahanubhaV’- sect, Chakradhar Swami. It is also 
perhaps the first story that a Maharashtrian mother tells her 

Apart from the myths, legends, fairytales, fables and 
parables— the main varieties of folk tales—Maharashtra has 
another type of its own, known as Kahnni which is distinct 
from the other types. It is a religious story woven round 
deities and their festivals, prescribing various forms of religious 



rituals and worships. Its purpose is to inculcate love for the 
family traditions, sense of duty, piety and other virtues among 
the young girls. These Kahanis are said -to have been compos- 
ed by women and are rightly called Apaurushcya, i e. not 
written by ‘men’. The Kahani usually begins with ‘‘Once 
there was an Aat-Paat-Nagar.” 

The city is, of course, fictitious. Two such stories ‘-Sam- 
pat. Friday’’, and "Mangala Gouri” have been retold in this 

One of the prominent characteristics of the Marathi folk 
tales is their love for miracles. Here gods, goddesses and ~ 
fairies often help the poor and the miserable. They readily 
give boons. Even demons are sometimes kind. Another 
feature is the regard for honour. Some tribal stories, specially 
the stories of the Gond tribe are noted for their sense of hon- 
our, as also for their serene and pathetic quality. 

Fblk tales travel from place to place by word of month. 
They have some commpn motifs, but the tales always reflect the 
local colour and nuances of particular regions. 

I have tried to make this book as representative as possible 
of the state. A lot of research in folk literature has been done 
in Maharashtra by scholars like Dr Sarojini Babar, Dr Iravati 
Karve, Durgawati- Bhagwat, V.V. Josfai, Sane Guruji, V.K. 
Ghorghade, S.G. Date and others. The State of Maharashtra 
has a “Loksahitya Saroiti" fbr research on folklore. Their 
works have been very useful. ' I owe a special gratitude to Dr 
Babar and B.B. Borker who helped me in collecting the folk 
stories from <3 i©a. 

■V Indumati Sheorey 

• % • * % 


1 . Five Craftsmen 

2. Rupee Tree 

3. The Story of Sampat Friday 

4. Pavandeva and his Wife 

5. Sati Godawari • 

6. A Funny Story 

7. A Prince with Six Toes 

8. Four Wise Ministers 


9. Three Clever Men and a Demon 

10. How Lord Vithoba came to 


11. How Patil’s Buffalo turned into 

a Cock 

12. A Sister’s Vow , 

1 3. Deception gets its Desert 

1 4. The Thousand Killer 

15. Why Birds have no Homes 

16. The Red Lotus Flower 

17. The Incomparable Archer 

18. - How Parvatibai Outwitted the 


19. A Bhil Story of Creation 

20. Goddess Lakshmi’s Rock 

21 . The Clever Wife 

22. The Story of Mangala Gouri 

23. The Unwanted Wife 

24. The Fear df Death 

25. The Wonder Boy 




































O NCE upon a time there lived five friends in a 
town. One was a carpenter, the other a weaver, 
the third a goldsmith, the fourth a bangle-seller and 
the fifth a brahmin— well- versed in aneient sacred 
lore. As they were starving in their town they deci- 
ded to go to some other land to seek fortune. 

One morning they collected the tools and 
materials of their trade, took leave of the members 
of their families and set out on their journey. In 
the evening they came to a thick forest where they 
could not find their way in the pitch dark. So they 
decided to rest there for the night. They selected a 
spot under a large banyan tree close to a sparkling 
rivulet. The breeze was gentle and the full moon 
was rising above the horizon. They found the place 
very enchanting. 

With the day’s walking they were all tired and 
anxious to retire for the night. -But one of them 
queried : “What happens if a tiger comes when we 
are all asleep ?” The brahmin in his wisdom came 
forth with a solution and suggested : “We will take 
turns in keeping vigil. This way every one of us 
will get the necessary rest.” All of them welcomed 
the suggestion. The brahmin then declared the 
order for keeping guard thus : first the carpenter, 
then the weaver, followed by the goldsmith, the 
bangle-seller and lastly the brahmin. 

i r 


All except the carpenter retired. With the 

gentle breeze, the rising moon, and the shimmer of 


« \ 




the sparkling stream the carpenter was simply be- 
witched. He asked himself : “How should I keep 
myself engaged during the watch ?” 

An idea came to him like a flash. Why not 
carve a beautiful wooden statue of a young woman? 
In no time, he took out his tools, hacked a log of 
wood and perched himself on a table-top rock. He 
worked like one inspired and soon sculpted the 
statue of an exceedingly beautiful woman. He was 
thrilled by his creation. He picked up the statue 
gently and placed it resting against the trunk of the 
banyan tree. Then he woke the weaver to take his 
turn and went to sleep. 

The weaver woke up rubbing his eyes to drive 
away sleep. His gaze was soon arrested by the 
statue. “What a piece of loveliness 1 But alas, she is 
nude. She must be clothed.” So he took out his 
tools and a h^nk of gossamer silk and with utmost 
skill he wove a dreamlike sari and choli for the 
statue. Then he clothed the statue, stood it resting 
against the tree-trunk, and woke the goldsmith 

whose turn now it was to keep guard. 

* * • 

The goldsmith too, like his friends, was amazed 
by the beauty of the statue. But he felt sad that it 
had no ornaments. So he immediately took out his 
tools and fashioned a few ornaments of exquisite 
design, adorned the statue with loving care and 
placed it against the trunk of the tree. It was now 
the turn of the bangle-seller to keep watch. 

The moon was now overhead. When the 
bangle-seller saw the lovely statue he cried in 
amazement: ‘What beauty! What form!! But 
alas !!! She has no kumkum, no mangalasutra , and 
no glass bangles on her delicate wrists. An Indian 
woman is incomplete without these.* So he created 
a set ofbangles and a mangalasutra and put them 
on the statue. This done, he wondered what, to do 




about the red kumkun mark for the forehead ? All 
of a sudden he got an inspiration. He slit his finger 
with a sharp knife and put the auspicious vermilion 
mark on the statue’s forehead with his blood and 

placed it resting against the tree. 

- . • . 

He then woke the brahmin for his turn. Since 
day-break was not far away, the brahmin went 
to the stream, .took, his bath while chanting the 
mantras and came to the rock to keep vigil. Inevi- 
tably, his gaze was drawn by the statue. He went 
near it apa said in ecstasy : “Ah ! What beauty !! 
What charm !!! But alas, it is lifeless. It is a 
matter of great sorrow that such a piece of beauty 
should be without life.” . He placed the statue on 
the rock, and started chanting mantras and sprink- 
ling water over it till almost day-break. There was 
suddenly a stir in the air and the statue came to 

He was dazzled by the heavenly beauty of the 
twenty-year old young maiden. He could hardly 
take his eyes from her. Since it was almost day- 
break, the four friends had arisen from their sleep 
one by one. When they saw the maiden, everyone 
wished she could be his wife. The maiden sat still 

witnessing the quarrel with a smile on her lips. 

• • \ • * 

» • , . ' 

The carpenter, raising his eyebrows and flouri- 
shing his arms in the air, said with great agitation : 
“Hie idea of carving the statue was mine. Had 1 not 
created the statue, this question would not have 
cropped up at all. So it is my right to have her as 
my wife.*' 


The weaver did not lag behind in vehemence. 
He said: “Yott made the statue po doubt, but it was 
nude. So I clothed her with exquisite garments. It 
is but just that I should wed this maiden.” 

% S 

The goldsmith with clenched fists shouted : 
“Enough of this empty boasting about creating the 


* V 

statue and clothing, it. One cannot think of woman 
without ornaments. So I, and none else, has the 
right to marry her.” 

The bangle-seller, looking intently at his 
friends, asserted : “I have given her the accepted 
marks of marriage by slipping bangles round her 
wrists, tying mangalasutra round her neck and put- 
ting a vermilion mark on her forehead with my cwn 
blood. So should I not marry her ?” 

The brahmin boiling with rage intervened : 
“You are all fools!; who did what is immaterial. 
After all, the status was without life. Had it rem- 
ained so, all your claims for the maiden’s hand 
would have been meaningless. By the power of my 

mantras I infused life in the statue. So she is 
rightfully mine.” 

• t 

Rut not one of them was prepared to yield to 
the other. From hot words they came to blows. 
Seeing no way out, the carpenter suggested : “Let 
us go to God Brahma and request him to decide the 
matter for us. We should accept Whatever decision 
he gives.” They all agreed to this suggestion. 

' t • 

And in no time a furious storm began to rage 
in the forest with blinding flashes of lightning. 
They saw an old farmer coming to them, with 
a staff in his hand. Impressed by his divme aura* 
they realised that God Brahma himself had come 
to them in the garb of a farmer. They all ran to 
him and bowed. 

The farmer seated himself on the rock and 
beckoned the young woman to come and sit by his 
side. Then turning to the five friends he asked : 

“Why are you quarrelling like this ?” 

• % 

They then narrated their stories. 


After hearing them all he turned solemnly to the 
carpenter and asked : 





“Well, carpenter, you say you made the statue. 
What exactly did you do ?” 

i , / 

“I brought the statue in existence.” 

“So, how is the giver of the birth related to the 
born ?” 

“He will be the father, Sir.” 

m -4 

“So you are her father, is it not ?” 

“Yes, Sir.” 

The farmer then turned to the weaver and 
asked : “Well, good man, you provided the young 
woman with sari and choli. What does it actually 
mean ? 


. “Sir, I protected her virtue.” 


“Alright. How will the protector of a maiden’s 
virtue be related to her ?” 

“He will be her brother, Sir.” 


“So you are her brother.” 





It was now the turn of the goldsmith. The 
farmer asked him : 


, * 

“What does a maternal uncle do for his niece on 

the occasion of her marriage ?” 

• • • • 

“He presents her with ornaments.” 

• * 

“Then, you giver of ornaments, how are you 
related to her ?” 

“As her maternal uncle, Sir.” 

The farmer then asked the bangle-seller the 
significance of his act. The bangle-seller said : “She 
was a virgin. By bestowing on her the marriage 
tokens I gave her the status of a married woman. 

Sensing the trend of the verdict the brahmin 
intervened in desperation : “Sir, this is injustice. 
The statue was an inanimate object. I injected life 
into it” . 

“Calm down, oh brahmih,” the farmer obser- 
ved. “It does not behave a brahmin to lose his 
balance so easily. Now, in giving it life, What did 
you do ?” 

“fused all my craft in infusing life and know- 
ledge into her.” 

“So, how is a giver of knowledge related to 
her ?” . ’ 


"* * • i 

'“As her Guru, Sir." 

t i • • 

The fanner then gave his verdict : “Since, the 
bangle-seller has given her the symbols of a marital 
status he is her rightful husband.” 

* * * . j • 

All the friends were impressed bv the wisdom 
of 'the old farmer and accepted his decision with 


They then bowed down to touch the feet of 
the farmer and when they raised their heads they 
found that he had disappeared . 


A T Aat-Pat-Nagar* there lived a brahmin. One 
day he went to the king to ask for alms. The 
king offered him one hundred rupees as alms. But 
the brahmin refused to take them and said : “I 
don't want one hundred rupees. Just give me any- 
thing, even a paisa, which you have earned by the 
sweat of your brow.” 

The king was perplexed. He could give no- 
thing, as there was nothing he had earned by his 
own labour. So he asked the. brahmin to come after 
two days. 

• 0 , % 

Next day, the king got up early in the morning, 
discarded his royal robes, put oh old, torn gar- 
ments, and went to a nearby village. There he 
came across the foreman of a labour-gang working 
on the road and asked him if he could give him 
some work. The. foreman asked : 

“What work can you do ? Can you dig the 
earth V 

“Yes,” the king replied. 

“Alright, then take this pick axe and dig a pti 
there and bring some earth for the road.” 

The king picked up the axe and started digging. - 
But unaccustomed as he was to doing any hard 
labour, very soon he started perspiring profusely, 
and he could hardly hold the axe as there were 
sores on his palms. The foreman saw his plight and 
remarked : 



*■ A fictions town with no geographical identity, and is used in 
most Maharashtrian tales. 



“Look here, it seems you cannot dig any 
more. You are drenched in perspiration.” 

And throwing a four-anna piece ' toward him, 
he asked the king to take it and go away. The 
king picked up the coin and walked home. 

Next day the king came to the royal court 
dressed in regal finery, with the four-anna coin in 
his pocket. The brahmin came again and asked 
for alms. The king took out the coin from his 
pocket and gave it to him saying : “This I have 

earned with the sweat of my brow.” 

What did the brahmin do ? He just planted 
the coin in a bed of Tulsi plants near the well in his 
backyard . The coin soon sprouted and it develop- 
ed into a mighty tree, with its roots striking deep 
in the well. The tree was in no time laden with 
rupee coins. One day the king s men, on a round 
of collecting flowers for Puja in the v royal, house- 
hold, saw .the rupee-laden tree. They went straight 
-and reported to the king : 




a tree in his backyard which bears shining silver 

The king was greatly astonished. He ordered 
his army to uproot the tree and bring it to him. But 
the brahmin would not allow the men even to touch 
the tree. He said : “Let the king himself come 
and take the tree away if he wants.” When the 
king came and wanted to uproot the tree, the brah- 
min asked him : “Well, king, do you remember 
what you. had given me ? Just a four-anna piece. 
But because you had earned it with the sweat of 
your brow, it developed into a mighty tree. So the 
tree is yours. But remember that in fact you gave 
me only four-annas. * But if it pleases you, you 
can take away whatever you gave me.” 

The king felt humbled and went his way. 

J <c d J — 



I N Maharashtra there is a folk tale relating to 
each day of the week. There is a vrata— the wor- 
ship and ritual-prescribed for the reigning deity of 
each day, and the devotee believes that through its 
observance he derives a specific benefit. The present 
tale is about the vrata known as the sampat (wealth) 
observed on Fridays. Its observance brings wealth 
and prosperity. The recitation of the story forms a 
part of the vrata. 

In a town, At-Pat-Nagar, there lived a poor 
brahmin. He was so poor that he could hardly 
make both ends meet. One day when his wife paid 
a social visit to her neighbour, she related to her the 
tale of her misery. The neighbour told her to 
observe the ritual and worship Goddess Laxmi— the 
reigning deity of Friday. She said : “Start this 
ritual from any Friday in the month of Shrawan. 
Keep fast for the whole day. In the evening invite 
five married women, wash their feet, make tradi- 
tional offerings of milk and sugar and apply kum- 
kum to their foreheads. Distribute roasted gram 
as prasadam. Do this for one yehr and the Goddess 
will bestow you with prosperity/' She came home, 
offered a sincere prayer to Goddess Laxmi and 
commenced her Friday worship. Months passed but 

they remained poor as ever. 


In the same town lived her rich brother with 
his proud wife and children. They lived in a pala- 






tial house and it was replete with food-grains and 
wealth. Once the brother decided to perform 
Sahasrabhojana , i.e. to feed a thousand brahmins. 
Hie ceremony of feasting was to go on for the 
whole week. The brother and sister-in-law invited 
almost the whole town but not the sister. They 
were ashanjed of her poverty. When the sister 
learnt about the Sahasrabhojanay she said to her 
husband : “I will go to my brother's house.** v 

Her husband tiding to discourage her, said r 
“You have not been invited, please do not go'*. 

But she protested : 

“Sister-in-law may have forgotten to invite 
me. After all it is my brother’s house. Do I need 
an invitation to go to his house ? When he is feed- ' 
ing a thousand people, surely I and my four child- 
ren would not be such a burden on them.” 

I • 

Saying this she got ready to go to her brother. 
She had no new sari nor any ornaments. So she 
put on a simple sari of daily wear, and dressed her 
children the same way. At her brother’s place, 
wherever she turned her eyes, she saw the guestfc 
attired in rich garments. Her sister-in-law was 
moving about in the gathering, flaunting her rich 
Paithani * and precious ornaments. She noticed her 
brother standing at the entrance of the mandapam 
but he ignored her. When she went inside, her 
sister-in-law did not even show her the common 
courtesy of asking her to come in and have meals. 
Though the sister felt hurt, she behaved as if it was 
her own house. Hundreds of wooden seats were 
kept in a row with thalis laid before them full of 
rich food. She and her children occupied their 
seats. When the sister-in-law came to serve ghee, 

she saw her and said : “Well sister, how have you 

■ % 

* A silk brocade sari made at Paithan in Marathawada, 

much in fashion in olden days. 



come ? Did your brother invite you 7* Saying this 
nonrfvM % M emptu ° us 8 Iance at her and her 

heart ^ ^ mea ^ went home wlth a heav y 

Next day her children insisted on her to go 
again to their uhcle’s place, saying : “There we 

would ^t nch food again.’’ Though reluctant, she 

matf f a • he is my brother. What does it 

matter if his wife insulted me. Since I am poor, I 
have got to put up with such insults.” The sister- 
m-law this time humiliated her with stronger words 
and asked her not to come again. But when she 

found her again on the third day she got furious, 

r * U j he i? t0 h f, r hus band, fuming with , rage and 
houteti for all to hear : .“Every day your sister 
comes uninvited bringing her half-a-dozen children 
with her. People assembled here laugh at me. I 
feel ashamed of her. Ask her to go away.” 

The brother who ^ as , under his wife s thumb, 

also felt annoyed by his sister’s presence. He went 
straight to her and said : 

“Why do you come uninvited ? People ridi- 
cule us' on your account. We feel ashamed. Go 

home and don’t show your face again.” He then 

^. 7 ! ^old of her hand and drove her and her 
children out. - 

She feltbroken-hearted. She offered a solemn 

prayer to Goddess Laxmi and fasted the whole day,* 

bitterly weeping and saying : “Look how poverty 

reduces man to nothing. Poverty has estranged 

lrom me even my brother.” The goddess took 

pity on her and soon she saw a definite turn in her 

fortune. Her husband’s trade picked up. Mean- 

while she was vigorously observing the Friday ritual 

and by the end of the year they were rolling in 



For the terminal pooja and feast, she invited 
her brother and sister-in-law. They had already 
heard about the sister’s prosperity, so they felt 
very humbled and with great cordiality the brother 
said : “Sister, come to our house for dinner one 
day. Please don’t say ‘No’, else we will feel hurt.” 

She accepted the invitation. 

On the appointed day the sister with all her 
finery and ornaments visited her. brother’s house. 
The sister-in-law came out to receive her, washed 
her feet with hot water and seated her respectfully 
on the carpet. She was dancing attendance on- the 
sister, as if nothing was too good for her. Silver 
plates and bowls were laid out for dinner among 
decorative Rangoli motifs. Fragrance of the incense 
sticks filled the air. Choicest dishes were prepared 
for the dinner. When everything' was ready, the 
brother and his wife took hold of the sister’s hand 
and escorting her to her seat, requested her to Com- 
mence the meal. But the sister did not show any 
inclination to touch the food. The sister-in-law then 




solicitously asked : “What is the matter sister ? Is 
there anything wanting V 

The sister said : “Please lay an empty plate by 
my side/’ 

“For whom ?’’ both queried. 

9 • 

The sister said : “First put down the plate and 
then I will explain.” 

The brother hurriedly placed a plate as desir- 
ed. Meanwhile the sister took off all her orna- 
ments and arranged them' neatly in the empty plate. 
She then started putting each item of the eatables 
on the ornaments. The brother and. his wife were 

perplexed at what the sister was doing, and asked : 
“Sister what are you doing V The sister explained 
calmly : “I am feeding these ornaments. You have 
invited me to dinner today because I have these 
ornaments. Actually you have invited the ornaments 
for dinner and not me." 

The brother felt abashed at this. Then both the 
brother and his wife touched the sister’s feet and 
begged for her forgiveness. 



P AVNI is a small town in Bhandara in Maharash- 
tra. The aboriginal tribes in the neighbouring 
areas believe that ages ago it was the capital of 
Pavandeva— the wind god. King Pavan had a large 
empire which extended from Bhandak in Chanda 
in me south, to Amraoti in the west. It was said 
that he used to take his bath at Pavni, his day’s meal 
at Bhandak and night’s rest at Amraoti. His wife 
Kamlarani, ‘the Queen of Waterlily’, had miracu- 
lous powers. She could walk on the tanks, stand 
on the lotus leaves in water, could draw water in 
unbaked earthen pots with untwined string. Al- 
though very rich, the king and queen, always wore 
simple white garments and worked with their own 
hands. For this simplicity they were loved and res- 
pected by their people. Tribute was paid to the 
king in iron ore. 

The royal couple had a touchstone and they 
could, if necessary, turn their subjects’ tribute of 
iron ore into gold. But they did not need this pre- 
cious metal as the queen wore no ornaments. Yet 
even without them she possessed unequalled charm. 
But once during the Pola festival the queen saw 
other women dressed in colourful rich garments 
and wearing precious ornaments. She thought she 
too must have these things. She went to her hus- 
band, Pavandeva and pleaded : “Look, how rich 
garments and ornaments enhance a woman’s beau- 
ty ! I too want to have ornaments like those 
women !” 




Pavandeva at first could not believe that Kamla- 
rani who, all along was so simple, and never even 
wore a single ornament, should be pining for jewel- 
lery or rich garments. He tried to persuade her by 
saying : Kamlarani, white is the king of all 

colours. With your simple white dress you have 
no match in grace and beauty in the entire universe 
Why do you want to degrade your divine charm to 
the level of the mortals ? If you insist, you 'may 
have to repent later.” y 

But the queen insisted : “Make me all types of 

ornaments by our touch stone. I must have them 
for the festival.” 

Pavandeva felt sad but he did not argue further 
He gave everything his wife desired. When Kamla- 
rani joined the other women in the Pola festivity, 
she was like one among the many. No longer could 
she be distinguished from others by her white 
apparel. She was just ignored. She came home 

greatly disenchanted. Her eyes opened but it was 
too late. 

When she dropped her usual unbaked earthen 
pot in the well to draw water, the flimsy untwined 
string could not bear the weight of the pot as be- 
fore and snapped. . While the pot too could not 
hold water, it became clay and dissolved into 
water. When she started crossing the tank and 
set foot on the lotus leaf she found herself drown- 


She now knew what had befallen her. Her mira- 
culous powers had vanished. She had desires like 
ordinary mortals, so like them she must be. She 
was herself the cause of her undoing. * 

Kamlarani was broken-hearted. The king too 
was sad and indifferent. 


pavandbva and his wife ' 33 

^, ? ut tl 1 ie y did not have to grieve long. A michtv 

asss as,? “ ”»«- 


stilKrsteSen^ 8 “ P a Sn,a " t0Wn which 

N • 




T ALL and handsome, prince Sambhaji the, eldest 
son of king Shivaji, was only seventeen at that 
time. Great preparations were going on for the 
coronation of Shivaji when he was to be formally 
declared as the “Defender of the faith, protector of 
the Mother Cow and the Brahmins, Shri Chhatra- 
pati Maharaj.” So the king along with his queen, 
mother Jijamata, his wives, sons and the royal 
family was staying at the Raigarh fort. But prince 
Sambhaji did not seem to be much concerned about 
his father’s coronation. He would daily come 
out of the fort on the pretext of riding and would 
absent himself the whole day. Gradually his 
absence come to be noticed by Shivaji and the 
courtiers, and soon people started whispering about 

his doings. 

It so happened that one Gangadhar Shastri of 
Ratnagiri, in Konkan was on his way with his 
daughter-in-law Godawari to her husband; his son s 
place near Raigarh. Godawari was known as a 
very beautiful and virtuous woman. She had onl^ 

recently come of age and was being taken to her 
husband for the first time. _ 

While on a riding spree, Sambhaji sighted the 
travelling party consisting of the old Shastri, two 
attendants and the beautiful young woman. He 
made, enquiries of them and when his eye fell on 
the young girl, he was struck by her beauty. He 
' wanted to marry her. Forgetting his royal birth, his 



father’s reputation and the risk involved, he attack- 
ed the three men. Armed and brave as he was, he 
soon overpowered them and made them afraid for 
their lives. ' 


A little beyond the Raigarh fort on the border 
between the two villages of Pane and Pandheri, 
stands the Lingana fort. Close to its walls, there is 
a big natural cave in the adjoining mountains. Du- 
ring Shivaji’s time the cave was used f&r keeping 
prisoners, so it had a strong iron door too. 


Sambhaji kept Godawari in this cave. He arran- 
ged for a maid-servant and posted two soldiers to 
keep, watch on the cave . Every day he would go 
there and try to persuade the girl to marry him. 
Godawari’s reply would be : “I am already married, 
you are like my brother. Send me back to my father- 
in-law, or my husband.” 

Days passed but Sambhaji did not give up hope. 
He still believed that he would win over Godawari 
one day. By and by the news spread to the fort and 
reached Jijamata and Shivaji. 


Jijamata immediately sent for her grandson and 
straightaway took him to task : “We are ashamed 
of you,” she said, “you have sullied your father’s 
great name. Fie on you ! Tell me who is the girl 
you are torturing ?” 

Sambhaji stood hanging his head down but kept 
his mouth shut. Shivaji who was sitting by his mo- 
ther, said more in anguish than anger : 

“I call myself a ‘Protector of the Mother-Cow 
and the- Brahmins' and here is my son, the future 
king of the Marathas, who tries to rob married 
brahmin girls of their virlue 1 Go away from my 
sight.” ' 


. But Sambhaji stood still. 



Next day Shivaji sent his two courtiers to the 
cave and brought Godawari to the tort. When she 
was brought into the palace, both Jijamata and 
Shivaji bowed before her and Shivaji touched her 

Seeing the great Maratha king and the queen- 
mother, both of them much senior to her in age, pay 
ing respects to her, Godawari was nonplussed and 
overwhelmed for a while. Seeing her plight, Jijamata 
said : 

“My daughter, this is the kingdom of Shivaji 
who has taken a vow to protect the sacred Cow and 
the Brahmins. And a brahmin Sati, though younger 
in age is worthy of our worship.” 

Then Jijamata called Sambhaji and ordered him 
to bow to her. “That is the only way to wash away 
your sins,” said Shivaji. 

When Sambhaji after some hesitation touched 
her feet, Godawari ’s face brightened up. She said : 
“Now you are my brother.” 

Next morning quite unexpectedly Godawari said 
to Jijamata : “Queen mother, I have to make you 
one request. Please make preparations for my fune- 
ral pyre. I want to perform Sati.” 

Jijamata was aghast. She called Shivaji, Sambhaji 
and others in the palace and conveyed Godawari’s 
desire to them. They were all stunned. In fact 
Shivaji was arranging to send her to her husband. 
He asked Godawari : 

“Daughter, we are making arran gements for your 
journey home. Tell us where you wish to go— to 
your father or to your husband ? We will try 
to make amends for the humiliation caused to you 
by us. We will try to convince your father-in-law 
and your husband of your chastity and virtue, and 
tell them that you are as pure as the Ganges.” 

“But how is it possible now ?” said GodaWari, 



i id } hc society say about Sita who went 
through fire to prove her innocence ? I am a mere 

mortal as compared to her. I have no other wav left 

a«anS V fhe pv C ^’ ity by bUrning myse,f ' Plcase 

As she spoke, Godawari’s face wore an expres- 
sion of unearthly beauty. They all knew that her 
determination to immolate herself was firm and 
final. Shivaji then sent his men to find a suitable 
place for the pyre. Others made arrangements for 
the religious ritual. Jijamata, along with Godawari 
and other royal women came to Wadi— the place 

°* a palanquin. Sambhaji himself was one 

of its bearers. 

Sati s pyre was ready. Godawari, standing on 
the rock near it, distributed her ornaments to other 
married women. Then they all bowed to her. She 




blessed everyone, wished well of the Maratha king- 
dom, and climbing the steps of the sandalwood 
pyre said : “After three days the Ganges water will 
gush out from under this rock. It will be a witness 
to my purity.” 

The pyre was lit. The red flames rose high 
into the sky, and with it the pure heart of Sati 

A black-stone Samadhi built about three 
hundred years ago at Wadi, is still seen today. 
People call it ‘Sati Godawari’s Samadhi .’ 




IN a tribal village there lived an old Gond 
couple. Once they had a violent quarrel over the 
food. The old woman had prepared seveii Bhakris 
and the quarrel arose over their division. The wife 

more ” 1 ” aVe prepared them > so 1 shall have 

But the husband said : “I have paid for them 
so I must have more.” 

They quarrelled dll they were both exhausted. 
Th^ lay down to sleep leaving the supper uneaten. 
At midnight, the old man sat up and said : 

“Let us come to terms, whoesover speaks first 

wi have three and whosoever keeps silent longer 
will nave four. . * 

They agreed to this and again lay down and 
kept silent. Not a word at night. Dawn broke, yet 

no word passed between them. The day and the 

night passed. Yet both kept mum. Thus two days 
passed away No sound came from their house. 
Neighbours thought it strange. * 

.“What’s happened to the old couple?” They 
said. They went and knocked at the door. There 
was no response. Then they forcibly opened the 
door and found both lying on the floor, eyes clos- 

e i W £t days of hun S er had made them pale and 
weak. The neighbours went near and asked : 







“Eh, old man, is anything wrong ?” 

No reply came. They went to the wife. But she 
too did not move. So the neighbours thought that 
- they were dead. They made arrangements for their 
funeral and when they were complete they placed 
them on the bier and seven neighbours took them 
to the graveyard. Even then the couple did not 
utter a word. But when their bodies were being 
lowered in the grave, the wife quietly said : 

“Alright, I will eat three, you can have 
four.” ,■ • 

As soon as the seven men heard her words, 
they thought the corpses had become ghosts and 
they meant to eat the seven men. In their terror 
they threw the bodies and ran for their lives. 

Now the old couple was greatly surprised. 
They did not understand why their neighbours ran 
away dropping their bodies with a thud. To find 
out the reason of their act, they pulled themselves 
up and began running after them. 

In the meantime the seven neighbours went to 
the police station and reported the matter. The 
police inspector along with a couple of constables 
started towards the graveyard for investigation of 
the ghost story. But before they had gone a few 
paces, they saw the Gond couple running in their 
direction. The policemen were so scared that they 
too started running. They went straight to their 
king and narrated the whole story. The king too 
was equally alarmed. He took his wife and children 
and left the palace in a great hurry. Within minutes 
the whole palace was empty. 


The couple, when they saw the policemen 
running as their neighbours did, were even more 
mystified. So they followed them. But as they were 
old and fasting for the last two days, they could not 

* • • 


this^ortl SMttSS ‘Fear’ came into 
ghosts, Ce tllen man has been afraid 0 f 

\ • r 

• — > - 


• I 



• ► . r 





. I • 4 •••• 


4 • • 

• * 

1/ ING Sudharm ik was blessed with a son who had 
^ six toes on his left foot. The court astrologers 
told the king : “This is an omen of poverty. The 
boy is bom under evil stars and presages your early 
death.” Soon after, a powerful enemy invaded the 
kingdom and killed Sudharmik., His wife immo- 
lated herself on the funeral pyre. The prince’s maid 
brought the boy secretly to Kuntalpur, now, Katol,' 
near Nagpur. She took up a domestic job and rear- 
ed him for three years till her death. Then the 
orphan boy grew to the age of five on alms and help 
. of the women of the town who loved hiin because 
of bis great devotion to God. 

One day oil his usual round of begging and 
singing Bhajans , he went to the palace of Dhrishta- 
buddhi, minister to king of Kuntalpur. Hundreds 
of Brahmins were being entertained to a feast at 
that time. When the Brahmins saw the singing boy 
they told the minister : “This boy will become 
king one day and will own your wealth.” The 
minister was enraged. He thought : “This boy 
will usurp the kingdom- of Kuntalpur and rob me 
of all my wealth. It is best to get rid of him now.” 

So he ordered two assassins to take the boy to 
the forest and kill him. When they drew their 
swords, he asked them to wait till he finished his 
prayers. They were so charmed by his winning 
smile and innocence that they could not carry out 
the' evil deed. Instead, they cut off his sixth toe, 
showed it to the minister and collected their 


. 4 


With his sixth toe now gone, the curse of 
poverty was lifted. While wandering alone in the 
forest, he met King Kulinda who had come for 
hunting. The king felt pity for the boy, took him 
to his capital Chandanawati and entrusted him to 
his Queen Meghawati, She had no child of her own 
so she looked after him with love and named him 



When Chandrahasa Was eight, the king per- 
formed his thread ceremony. H§ was taught the 
Vedas, the scriptures and all other branches of 
learning, and trained as an expert archer. 

• 4 

When he was fifteen he said to the king : “I 
want to embark on a mission of ‘Digvijaya— (the 
conquest of the world.)” 

“You are so young,” said the king, “how can 

you at such a young age face the mighty kings ?” 

• — • • 

“I will prove it by my deeds,” insisted the young 
prince. , 

At that time King Kulinda was a feudatory of 
the King of Kuntalpur. So the king said to 
Chandrahasa : “The enemies of Kuntalpur are 
harassing the King. So you destroy them first.” 

The young prince succeeded in his mission 
beyond all expectations. Apart from defeating all 
the enemies, he collected vast wealth. The king was 
dazzled by this achievement. He sent a portion of 
the wealth as tribute to the king of Kuntalpur with 
the message : “My son Chandrahasa has returned 

unconquered after defeating all our enemies.” 

™ % . 


Greatly overjoyed, the king of Kuntalpur 
then sent his minister Dhrishtabuddhi to Chanda- 
nawati to see the conqueror prince. When the 
minister met King Kulinda, he queried : “How is 
if that you never informed us that you had a s 
son ?” 

44 . 


Then king Kulinda narrated how he had come 
by Chandrahasa. The minister was upset when he 
saw the prince. From the cut sixth toe of his left 
foot, he recognized him at once. He thought of a 
strategem. On the pretext of sending him to present 
himself to the king of Kuntalpur, he sent him with 
a letter to his son Madan. 

* 4 * % 

On his way . to Kuntalpur Chandrahasa made 
a halt for some rest in a garden on the bank of a 
lake. As he was tired he fell asleep. It so happened 
that Princess Champakmalini had come for a picnic 
in the garden with her friends. With them was 
Vishaya, the daughter of Dhrishtabuddhi. While 

, strolling in the garden by herself, Vishaya came to 
the place where Chandrahasa was sleeping. Her 
curiosity was aroused. When she went nearer, she 
instantly fell in love with the handsome sleeping 
prince. She then saw a letter peeping out of his 
pocket. She quietly took the letter and was sur- 
prised to find that it was addressed to her brother. 
She opened it and read : “Give ( Visha' (poison) to 
the bearer of this letter.” 

9 * • 

• Now Vishaya was puzzled. She could not 
understand why her father should wish to give 
poison to such a handsome prince. There must be 



45 * 

some mistake. “Is it that my father wants to give 
me— ‘Vishaya’ and not Vis ha to tlie prince 7” 
thought Vishaya. So with some Kajal and stem of 
a leaf she added letters ‘ya’ and Vis ha (poison) be- 
came ‘Vishaya’. She slipped the letter pack in the 
pocket and quietly left to join her friends. 

After his rest in the garden, Chandrahasa went 
straight to Madan who welcomed the idea of his 
father of marrying his sister Vishaya to such a hand- 
some and brave prince. He solemnised their mar- ^ 
riage with due pomp and show. - 

Meanwhile when Chandrahasa left for Kuntal- 
pur, Dhrishtabuddhi imprisoned King Kulinda, 
grabbing all the wealth Chandrahasa had. 

When he came near, his mansion, he was sur- 
prised at the activity going on there. There was a 
mandapam in front of the house and a lot of people 
were moving about gayly to the accompaniment of 
Shahnai. He asked the people there : “What is all 

this bustle about 7” 

« / • 4 * . 

“Don’t you know 7 This is in honour of 
Vishaya’s marriage.” 

“Vishaya’s marriage 7 With whom 7” 

“With Prince Chandrahasa of Chandanawati.” 

• • «,« • * • • 


Dhrishtabuddhi cursed his fate. He had ex- 
pected Chandrahasa to have been killed. Instead 
he had become his son-in-law. 

k • . 

Two attempts at killing Chandrahasa had 

failed. So, he decided to try once again. 

/ - ' 

On a hill outside the town there was a temple 
of goddess Chandika. He ordered two assassins to ' 
conceal themselves in the temple and kill the person 
who would come to worship the goddess in the 
evening. After arranging this, he said to his son- 


in-law Chandrahasa : “It is a custom in our 
family to offer worship to goddess Chandika after 
every auspicious ceremony. So you go to the tem- 
ple this evening to offer your homage.” 

On his way to the temple, Chandrahasa met 
Madan with an urgent message from the king of 
Kuntalpur. Madan said : “The king has summoned 
you immediately. He has decided to retire from 
life. He. is marrying his daughter Champakmalini 
to you and make you king in his place.” Chandra- 
hasa immediately left for the palace, while Madan 
took from him the tray containing flowers, incense 
sticks, oil lamp and other articles required for wor- 
ship, and went straight to the temple. 

Next day when Dhrishtabuddhi, heard 
Chandrahasa proclaimed as king, he raged with 
helpless fury. He knew something had gone wrong. 
When he rushed to the temple, he found Madan’s 
body, with its head chopped off lying in a pool off 
blood. He at last realised that one cannot harm a 
person whom God protects. He repented for his 
evil deeds and shocked by his son’s death, killed 
himself by dashing his head against a pillar. 

A Sadhu who saw the dead bodies informed 
about them to Chandrahasa, the new king. He at . 
once rufched to the temple, sat in penance in front 
of the goddess, making an offering of his own body 
in the sacred fire. The goddess pleased at his 
devotion, directed him to ask for a boon. He 
requested her to restore the two dead persons to 
life, Which she did. He then brought Madan and 
Dhrishtabuddhi in a procession to the palace. 

Chandrahasa then decided to go to Chandana- 
wati to see his father Kulinda. When he reached 
there he found that the king and his consort - 
Meghawati, fed up with the harassment of Dhrishta- 
buddhi’s henchmen, were on the point of immolat- 



* / 


ing themselves in fire. He rescued them and told 
them all that had happened. 

$ s 


Under the wise guidance of his father, he 

ruled happily over his kingdom, for many years. 

• • 4 . ' 

The story of this devotee prince is narrated in 
the religious books of Maharashtra. 





\7EERASENA, the king of Vijapur wus known 
; far and wide as a wise and kind ruler. He was 
kindhearted, no doubt, the credit fpr hi$ benevolent 
rule was due to the wisdom of his four ministers 
who always advised him on matters concerning the 
welfare of his subjects; But there were occasions 
when they had to bow before the royal will, even 
against their better judgement. ' 

An occasion for conflict arose when the king 
desired to build a luxurious palace for himself and 
in order to raise money for its building, he decided 
to levy a heavy tax on the people, both rich and 
poor. The-ministers opposed this proposal, frankly 
telling him that it would be unjust to tax people for 
such a luxury. They knew that their plain-speaking 
would incur the king’s wrath and cost . them even 
their position in the court. But this time they decid- 
ed nqt to yield to the king’s whims. As expected, 
the king was enraged and he not only dismissed 
them but also banished them from his kingdom.' 

The four exiled ministers dressed as wayfarers 
left the capital and walked aimlessly riot knowing 
where to go. When the scorching sun began to beat 
on their heads in the afternoon, they took shelter 
under a banyan tree. Soon they ribticed that it had 
rained in those parts the previous night and noticed 
the footprints of a camel that must have passed its 
solitary way. With nothing to do, these four highly 
intelligent persons then decided to while away their \ 
'time, by trying to visualise what the camel was like 
by examining its footprints on the wet ground. 


• % 


9 . 


While they were thus engaged, a camel-rider 
came running to them crying aloud that he had lost 
his camel and asked them whether they had seen it 
passing that way. The first minister asked him, 
Was your camel lame in one hind leg ?” 

‘‘Yes, Sir, sure he 

r Did he go this way ?” 

But without answering his question the second . 
minister asked him, “Not only lame, but it was 

blind in one eye too, isn’t it ?” 

- ^ ' 

“Yes-yes, Sahib ! It had only one eye. Surely 

you must have seen it. Won’t you tell me where it 
has gone ?” 

% * • . * 

“We have not seen your camel. But we can say 
that it had no tail either. Is it true?” asked the third 

* * 

• • • • • 

“It’s true. He had no tail. He lost it last year 
in an accident,” replied the camel-rider* who had*' 
lost his patience by now. He asked : “But how do 
you know all this without seeing my camel ? Surely 

it is you who must have stolen it!” 


“Believe me, we have not seen your camel, let 

alone steal it,” said the fourth minister calmly. 

“Even then, I can further tell you that it is not 
keeping well.” 

« / 

“What more, O God!” shouted the camel- 

rider. ‘What more proof do I need, you thieves ? ■ 

I am now certain that you have stolen it. Give me 

back my catnel, otherwise I will report the matter 
to the king.” 

• * • 

The first minister tried to calm the agitated 
camel-rider and said : “Listen, man ! I tell you 1 
once again that we have' not seen your camel. You 

may complain to the king if you like, but nothing 

will come out of it. Better search it elsewhere 





1 A 

without wasting time artd stop making false charges 
against honest people !” 

“Honest people, my foot,” said the enraged 
camel-rider. “You think honesty comes by dressing 
like well-to-do people. With all your dress, you are 
the greatest rogues I have ever met. I shall go to 

the king” 

Saying this he ran to the king’s palace shouting 
all the way in anger but m'ore in sorrow : “I must 
have justice ! I will see that I get justice.” 

He had run hardly half the way, when he saw 
king Veeraserta along with his bodyguards passing 
that way for his usual everting ride. The camel-rider 
s came straight to the king and falling prostrate 
before him, cried : “My Lord, see how the poor 
are robbed in your kingdom ! "I am a poor camel- 
rider. If I don’t get my camel, I will be ruined. 
Help the poor wretch O, Lord !” 

“Stop babbling man !” commanded the king. 
“Be calm and tell me what has happened.” 

' The camel-rider then narrated the whole story 
by requesting : “Let justice be done, my Lord. Let 

me show you the thieves.” 

The king, then accompanied by the camel-rider 
and the bodyguards reached the banyan tree where . 
the four ministers were still sitting calmly, forget- 
ting the whole incident. 

King Veerasena was greatly surprised to see 
that the accused were none other than his exiled 
ministers. He knew they were incapable of stealing, 
least of all a camel. . He would have passed his 
judgement even without an enquiry. But he thought 
that it is not enough that justice is done, but people 
must feel and know that justice is done. 

So he started questioning the ministers about 
the camel. “Your Majesty, we have not even seen 
the camel, let alone steal it,” they said. This 

’ . * > % 


• * 


appeared even more surprising than the charge 
made against them. So he asked : “But how did you 
know that the. camel was lame in the hind leg ?” 

“This is very elementary sir !” The first 
minister explained, “you have only to look at the 
camel’s footprints on the wet ground. Your Majesty 
can see for , yourself that the animal was unable to 
put his hind leg firmly on the ground.” 


The kmg, his bodyguards and the camel-rider 
all looked at the footprintsand found the minister’s 
statement correct. >• 

“I can see that it’s true ! But how did you find ’ 
out that he had only one eye ?” 

The second minister replied : “Sir. we not only 
know that he is blind in one eye, but also that it is 
its left eye that is blind.” 

“But how ?” the king asked in surprise. 

% • * i 

a j > 0 Majesty can see 

that though there is more grass on the left side the 

camel has eaten only the grass on the right side. 

theleft^de ^ U ° eye t0 see grass on 

The king and others were easily convinced 

of this as they saw all the grass on the left side 

“But how about the tail ? How did you know 

that the camel had no tail ? Not from the footsteps 
or the grass, surely.” • 

N • 

“No, Your Majesty l We presumed this from 

the gnats lying on the ground ” the third minister ' 


They all saw the ground strewn with several " 
bodies of gnats. They had drunk so much blodd 
that they could not moye. The minister explained : 





If the camel had a tail it would have whisked them 
off before they could drink so much of its blood.” 

The king conceded this point also. The camel- 

nder W as so much convinced by now that when the 

fourth mimster explained that the camel’s dung 

showed that it was ill, he knew that they were 

innocent. He apologised for calling them thieves 
and rascals, 

% \ 

j , 


The king too, who , already knew about their 
honesty, was now impressed by their intelligence. 
He said to them : “Your deep wisdobi has opened 
my eyes. You have wide open eyes by which you 
see things which others don’t. Your alert minds 
draw lessons from small things. 1 accent vour 
advice not to tax people. Will you now be my 
ministers again ?” y 


The ministers bowed their heads and accepted 
the gracious offer. The camel-rider was then given 

another camel which was not ill, not blind, had 

both eyes and a complete tail and all the four lees 

sound. ■ ' ® 





• • A 




• ft 


H E was* known as a ‘Pearl-Shooter’. He was rich 
and had a beautiful wife. His chief amuse- 
ment was shooting with a bow and arrow at which 
he was so clever that every morning he would shoot 
through one of the. pearls in his wife’s nose-ring 
without hurting her at all. 

One day his Wife’s brother came to take his 
sister home. He asked her : “Why do you look 
so pale ? Does your husband ill-treat you ?” 

“No,” the sister replied, “he is very kind, and 
I have plenty of everything. But everyday he amuses 
himself by shooting one of the pearls in my nose- 
ring. I feel terrified that if he misses his aim one 
day, the arrow might kill me. I am in constant 
fear, but don’t want to displease him, as 'he takes 
great pleasure in it.” 

* * # • ♦ * 9 1 

“What does he say to you about it ?” 

• % 

“He proudly asks me ‘Is there anyone as 
clever as I am ?’ And 1 say : ‘No, 1 don’t think’.” 

The brother then told her : “Tomorrow 

when he asks you this question, tell him : ‘There 

are many men cleverer than you’.” 

Next day she did as her brother had taught 
her. The Pearl-shooter' became upset by his wife’s 
reply and said : 

“If there are men cleverer than me as you 

say, then I will not rest till I have found them.” 

* * . * 


' / 



• % > 

Saying this, he left his "wife, and went on a lone 
journey into the jungle. , 

On and on an<J on he went a very long wav, 

until he came ton Dig riVer where he saw a traveller 

eatmg food. The Pearl-shooter sat by him and 
, started conversing : 

Where are you going ? For what purpose ?” 

I am a wrestler, and the strongest man in 
Jecouirtjy, _ the traveller replied, “I can do won- 
derful feats of wrestling, lift up hekvy weights and 
thought I was the cleverest, but lately I have heard 

hinT” a VCry C eVer pearI - sIlo oter and I want to find 

■ • _ • 

‘‘Then you need not travel further. I am the 

man you heard about.” 

reply^and'asked 7“ ^ With ** 

• • • 0 

‘‘But what made you travel ?” 

“The same reason. To find out men more 

clever than me.” ' 

‘ ,r nien. let us be brothers, and go together” 

said the wrestler “perhaps we can find men better 

than us. They had not gone very far when they 

met another traveller. To their query, he told 

them: lama Paridit, a man of learning and 

honoured for my intelligence. I thought none was 

cleverer than me but recently I have heard about a 

Pearl-shootei* and a wrestler and I want to find out 
if it is true.” 

It is. true. We are the the two men you 
seek, they said. The Pandit was overjoyed. He - 
said : Let us be brothers. As your homes are 

too far aWay, let us go to my house, rest a while 
and then put our powers to test.” 

The proposal was accepted and soon they 
reached the Pandit’s house. y 




r v 

- •*. 

Now in the Pandit’s kitchen there was' an 
enormous cauldron of iron, and twenty-five persons * 
were required to lift it. - At the dead of the night, ' 
the wrestler thought of proving his power. He 
lifted it on his shoulders, quietly went down the 
river and wending through the deepest part of it 
buried it into the sand; Accomplishing this feat, he 
came back, 'quietly rolled himself up in the blan- r 
ket and went fast asleep. . But as luck would have 
it, the Pandit’s wife had heard him. Waking her 
husband, she whispered : “I hear footsteps. Some 
thieves perhaps. Strange that they should choose a 
moonlit night for theft.” So they got up, searched 
the whole house and found only the cauldron 
missing. They were surprised, that the thieves 
should steal such a huge cauldron and no orna- 
ments or other valuable articles. Soon, they discov- 
ered a man’s footprints starting from the kitchen 
upto the river, but none on the other bank. ’ They 
deduced that one man with a heavy load had 
walked upto the river. The Pandit suspecting the 
wrestler licked bis skin and found no salt on it. So 
he said to his/wife, “His body smells fresh and wet, 
that means h6 went into the river upto the neck. 
Tomorrow I will surprise him by ‘ showing that • I 
know what he did.” 

* s . • k 

Next morning the Pandit accosted them : “Let 
us go to the river for a bath. I can’t give you 
water for bath, because our cauldron has disap- 
peared mysteriously this very night;” 

% i 

• / • • 

“But where can it go 7” asked the wrestler 
showing surprise. . 

“Ah* where indeed !” The Pandit led them 
to Tthe river and showed: “See, how far it has 

travelled.” * 

\ 1 

“But who could have put it there ?” The 
wrestler asked innocently. 





► . • . * . 

/ > 

; ‘/Why, I think it’s you !” the Pandit said 
. smilingly. Then he narrated what his wile had said 
and what he did. The' wrestler and .the Pearl- 
shooter were both astonished by" the Pandit’s 

wisdom. ~ — 

6 \ 

Then the three spent the day amusing and 
laughing. In the evening the Pandit said : “Let 
' us have a royal feast to-night. You strong man, go 
and catch the fattest goat for the meal.” 

The wrestler went far into the forest where he 
saw many goats grazing and browsing, upon the hill 
side. Now a wicked demon saw him and said to 
himself : ‘ I will play some tricks with his friends, 
if I make him choose me.” So he converted him- 
self into a fat goat . The wrestler caught him by 
the neck and though he kicked hard was brought 
to the Pandit’s ' door. 

, i . •. * 

When the Pandit saw the goat and the wrest- 
ler holding it so tight tljat its eyes bulged from its 
head and looked fiery and evil, like burning coals, 
he at once knew that it was a demon and said 
to himself ; “If I appear to be frightened, then 
the demon will devour us all. I must try to inti- 
midate him.” So he said loudly : 

“O, wrestler, foolish friend ! What have you . 
brought ? I asked you ,to bring a fat goat and you 
brought only this wretched demon We are hungry 
people. My child eats one demon a day, my wife 
three, and myself twelve^ while we have only one 
between us all.” 

• % • • , 

. • ^ • 

The demon \yas frightened. He implored : 
“OSir, have pity on me. Don’t eat me, I will 
bring you as much wealth as you say, if you leave, 

" • 6 • 

% m 

“But how are we to believe you that you will 
comeback?” tfie Pandit shouted. 



— % 

“I promise, 1 will come and bring bagfuls of 

money. Only let me go.” 

The demon was then set free. He went to the 
demon-land and repeated; the story to his collea- 
gues. He told them, ‘‘Let utf giVe money to this 
man who eats twelve demons a day. Else he will 

eat us all.” v . 

- ! ■ ''' - 

After three days when the demon -returned 
with the promised money, the Pandit roared : ‘‘Why 
are you so late ? V£e are all sitting hungry.” j 

“Sir, my fellow-demons detained' me. They 
cursed me for bringing money to you. They are 
soon going to judge me in, the council for serving 
you,” said the terrorised demon* * ; ' 

“Where is the council to be held ?“ 

•.V • 1 •. * l ^ . ■ 

“Far away in.the depths of the jungle, to be, 
presided over by the demon-king in his court.” 

“We would like to see your king and the coun-_ 
cil. Take us there.” 

% . 

“The demon then seated all the three on his 
back and carried ihem. On and on and on, as fast 
as the wings could cut the air, they went and 
reached the heart of the jungle. The demon then 
sat them on a tall tree, just over the seat of their 
king’s throne. , 

Soon they beard a great rustling noise; Thou- 
sands of demons assembled there. Then the 
demon-king asked the guilty demon Why he gave 
wealth to the mortals and obeyed their orders. The 
demon said : “They are not ordinary mortals but 

great and4errible ones.” 

• * * • ‘ * 

“Let us see these people, only then we will 
believe...” . ' 

*- * 

- But before the king could finish his sentence, 
the Pearl-shooter’s arrow pierced the demon V 
ear-ring and ser\t it flying in the air. The king stood 





up in fright. But in the twinkling of an eye, the 
bough, which they were sitting on, Crashed under 
the weight of the wrestler and they fell on the head 
of the demon-king one upon another, as if from 
the sky. They battered his body with their blows 
saying : * 

“So be it, we will eat him first and the other 
demons 'afterwards.” The demons, hearing this. 
- flew away, and the king was allowed to go only 
after he 'had promised to fill their house with 
wealth., , 

They were brought back to the Pandit’s house, 
whose courage' had saved them from being eaten. 
The money was divided into three parts. The Pearl- 
shooter gave bagfuls of money to his wife after 
reaching home and said : 

i ■ * * . i 

“It’s true, there are men cleverer than me,” and 
left shooting pearls thereafter. 





pANDHARPUR is the most popular plate of 
pilgrimage in Maharashtra. Twice every year, 
in the months ofiAshadha and Kartik , a great jatra 
is held on Ekadqshi , the eleveth day of the month. 
Thousands of devotees of Vithoba called warkarts , 
set out for the pilgrimage oh foot. They travel in 
groups known as dincfis, carrying palanquins . pf 
saint poets of Maharashtra and singing abhangas all 
the way. This is the story of ho W the presiding 
deity of Pandharpur, Lord Vithoba, happened to * 
come there. 

■ ■; . . *. t 

It is said that Pandharpur was founded by 
devotee Pundalik. His father Janudeva and mother 
Satyavati lived in what is now known as Pandhar- 
pur but was then a thick forest called D^hdirvan. 
Pundalik was a devoted son but soon after, his, 
marriage ho began to ill-treat and » harass hfe 
parents. s To escape from their misery, the parents 
decided to go on a pilgrimage and joined a group 

of pilgrims going to' Kashi. ^ 

When Pundalik’s wife learnt this, she also', 
decided to go. She and her husband joined the ; 
same group of pilgrims on horseback. ; The ill-te# 

pered wife probably did not want the old coupj^'to 
escape from her clutches. JWhile the son and * Sis 
wife rode on horseback; the old coupte Wal##. 
Every evening when the party camped foi the nigfii, 
the son forced his parents to groom the hors^^ wd 






&J°‘ her ? e "i a U oi,s - The poor parents cursed the 
day they decided to go on a pilgrimage. 

* n “ UrSC of t™e, the, party reached the ashra- 
mo of the great sage Kukkutswami. There they 

spend , a couple of n 'ghts. They were all 
lik whn ^ he M <lrch and a11 fel1 asIee P except Punda- 

a «<*4 in dirty clothes" enter the ashrama, 
° * he ® oor > fe tch water and Wash the swami’s 

clothes. Soon after they entered the inner room 
of the ashrama, and shortly -came out in beautifully 
clean clothes and passing near Pundalik, vanished. 

^ Next night he saw the same' sight aaain 

Pundalik threw himself at their feet and begged 
washed their sins. Their clothes were dirtied by the 

^thdbathing piigrims. “And because of your 
lU-treatment of your parents,” they said “you are the 

greatest sinner. , Their rebuke brought about a 

complete change in him and he became the most 
lldfi tL° f S °" S ‘ ^ ?? w 4« Parents rode the horses 

By their love and affection, the son and his wife 
p ensuaded the parents to give up the pilgrimage 
and return to Dhndirvan. p * 8 

the^f day r m so , ha PPetted- that Lord Krishna, 
the King of Dwarka, while feeling lonely, was 

reminded of his early days in Mathura. Ite parti- 

cular.y remembered his sports-with the milkmaids 

die. cowherd boys and his eterm.’ love Radha. 

J^ a8h „ sh ? . was dead, Jte longed Mo see Radha 

fJpH]?* his d ]\ m * pwers he brought her back 
to life and seated her by his side ^ Just then 1 ; 

Rukmmi, entered the room . When Radha 
aid not rise to pay her due respect, Rukmini left 

* . i 




Dwarka in a tage and hid herself it* pandinran 

.When the spell of Radha’s charm abated, Lord 
Krishna started on a search for Rukmini. He first 
went to Mathura thinking that she had gone m there. 
Then to Gokul; ‘He played with the cows, the 
milkmaids and the eowherd boys. They too joined 

m the' search. They went to Mount Govardfian also 
itt their search. ^ .-v .■ vi .v <, r: . 

% _ i • * * 

At last they reached the bank of the 
Bhima in the Deccan. Krishna left his companion^ 

at Gopalpura,;>a tpot just outside the Dandirvan 
forest and he- himself entered the woods alone ' in 
search of his consort. He at last found Rukmini 
and managed to appease her. ;• , 

The reconciled Krishna and Rukmuii set fdrth 
together until they came to Pupdalik’s ashrama. 

But at that '‘time Pundalik was busy in attending to 

his parents. Though he knew Lord Krishna had 




come to see him, he refused to pay his respects to 
the god before his duty towards his parents was 
done. He, however, threw a brick outside for Lord 
Krishna to stand upon. 

Impressed by Pundalik’s devotion to his par- 
ents, Lord Krishna did not mind the delay. Standing 
on the brick he awaited Pundalik’s convenience. 
When Pundalik came out and begged the God’s 
pardon, Lord Krishna replied that far from being 
displeased, He was pleased with his love for his 

Lord Krishna; then ordered His worship as 
Vithoba , or the God who stood upon a brick. An 
imposing temple was buift at the place where 
Krishna and Pundalik had met. In the inner sanc- 
tum stands Krishna’s image on a brick. By his^side 
stands the image of Rukmini. She was instrumental 
in bringing Krishna to Pandharpur. 



I T is not easy to come across an affectionate and 
devoted couple like Janba Patil and his wife 
Janai.' With a little property, they led a contented 
life with their children in a small village. Everyone 
in the village knew them as kind-hearted and 

One day Janai said to her husband : “I think 
we should sell one of the two she-buffaloes we 
have. One animal will be enough for our needs. 

I now cannot put in the same amount of work as 
before at this age.” 

“Alright,” said Patil, “I will dispose it of in , 
tomorrow’s market.” 

Next day Patil along with the buffalo set out for 
the market early in the morning as the market place 
was quite some way off. On the way he met a man 
with a horse who asked : “Where are you going at 
such an early hour, Patilbaba ?” 

“To the market, to sell this old buffalo.” 

The buffalo looked a fine animal. Looking 
longingly at it the stranger suggested : “Why sell 
it ? If you like my horse I can exchange it with 
your buffalo.” 

Patil gave it some thought. A horse is a less 
//oublesome animal and the children can have 
some fun riding it. So> he said : “Alright, give me 
your horse and take this buffalo.” 




He mounted the horse and headed for the mar- 
ket, but after a few paces he found that the horse 
was blind.' 1 Next he met a* man with a cow. 

“Well, Patilbaba ? Where to ?” 

“I was bound for the market to sell my old 
•buffalo. But I exchanged it for this horse on the 
way ; but he is blind.” . 

“Exchanged it for a blind horse ? Then my 
cow is a much finer animal. If you like, I can give 
it to you in exchange for the horse.” 

T. JT . a ^ . cow looked a fine animal. 

Moreover, it involves less work than the horse. So 

he took the cow for the horse and went on his way 

but he soon discovered that the cow was lame in 
one leg. 

• Next he met a man with a she-goat. 

“On what mission, Patilbaba ?” 

“I started in the morning to sell my old buffalo 

which I exchanged for a blind horse. Now I have 

got this lame cow for the horse. I am going to sell 
it.” ® 

“Sell it ?, Then my she-goat is much better 
than your lame cow. If you want I can part with it 
for your cow.” 

Patil took the she-goat which he latter found to 
be ill. On the last lap of the journey he met a 
man with a cock. After a similar talk as before, he 
was left with a cock with him. 

When he reached the market it was mid-day. 
He was feeling very hungry but he had not even a 
paisa with him. He had intended to do the market- 
ing with the money he would have got for the 
buffalo. But on the way to the market the buffalo 
had been substituted by a cock. 

With great difficulty he could sell the cock f n 
one rupee, with which he purchased some eatables 


to appease his hunger. After washing his hands 
and feet he sat under a pipal tree and spreading 
his eatables on a leaf started his modest repast. 
But before he could eat a single morsel, a man in 
soiled and tattered clothes appeared before him and 
implored : “Give the poor man some food. I have 
not eaten anything for the last two days and I am 
dying of hunger. God will bless you.” When 
Patil saw the poor man’s condition, he was over- 
whelmed with pity. So he gave him all the food 
that he had and went home. ' 


Meanwhile, Patil’s wife had scrubbed the house 
neat and clean and cooked the meal foi the whole 
family. After completing her daily tasks, she sat 
in the backyard telling stories to her children, 
waiting for her husband’s return. When Janba 
reached home, he seated himself with a tried sigh 
on the charpoy in the front room. 

On seeing him, his children ran to him, follow- 
ed by Janai. Looking at him with eagerness she 
said : “Aren’t you rather late today ? I have 
been waiting for you with the meal ready.” 

“Yes, it is true I am very late. I will tell you 
everything that befell me today,” said Patil, “but 
give me a glass of water first/* 

After drinking the water, Janba said : “I did 
not sell the buffalo; but I exchanged it for ahorse.” 

“Is that so ? That’s very fine.” said Janai 
joyously. “Children can have fun riding the horse. 
Of what use is a buffalo ? Well children, go and 
tie the horse securely.” 

“Wait, wait wife ! I did not bring the horse. I 

exchanged it for a cow.” 

■ • * 

“Wah ! That is even better. The cow is certain- 
ly of greater utility than the horse. The children 
will now get plenty of cow’s milk. Well, children, 
go and tie our cow.” 



“Listen, I was to bring the cow, but I exchang- 
ed it for a she-goat. ? ’ 

“Why, that is also very good. She-goat’ s milk 
is said to have medicinal properties. Its main- 
tenance is no trouble. Well, boys, take charge of 
the she-goat.” 

“But listen, 1 exchanged the she-goat for a 


“Not bad !” said Janai with pleasure. “The 
cock will wake us up early in the morning. Child- 
ren, take the cock to the backyard.” 

“Listen, dear ! I had the cock. But as I was 
very hungry, I sold it for a rupee and purchased 
some food,” said Patil with a smile. 

“Fine, very fine,” said Janai. “But did you 
have enough food to eat ? Why do we need a 
cock ? What matters is your well-being and happi- 
ness.” ' 

“But you know what happened, dear ? I gave 

all my food to an old man who came begging to 

• - »> 1 


“And you remained hungry ? But it doesn’t 
matter. Indeed it was a kind act. Never' turn away 
u beggar when he comes at your meal time. Now 
get up, wash your feet and come for your meal: I 
have been waiting for you since long.’ 

They had a hearty meal and went to bed. Early 
next morning when Patil got up and opened the 
door, he was struck by what he saw. He called 
his wife. In front of their door stood a buffalo, 
which was not old; a horse net blind, a cow not 
lame, a she-goat and a cock in sound health. 
Beside the animals, was lying a leaf with a rupee 
on it. They were greatly surprised. Then its 


how patil's bupallo turned into a cock 

meaning slowly dawned on them. His wife stood 
awe-struck and whispered : 

i '?° J[ 0 H know who could have done this and 
why l The begger you fed yesterday was...” 


“None other than God.” said Patil completing 

her sentence. They bowed their heads in deep 
reverence. v 



I N a village there lived a mother and her daughter. 
They were very much attached to each other. It 
v so happened once that both of them became preg- 
nant simultaneously. In fullness of time, after nine 
months were complete, both gave birth to sons. 
But unfortunately the mother died in child-birth, 
and while on her deathbed, she called her daughter 
to her side and said : 

“Look after your younger brother as your own 

The daughter took the mother’s last wish to 
heart. She made a solemn vow to God affirming : 
“If ever required, I will give up my own son, but I 
will protect my brother. He will be my real com- 
- panion for life.” 


But the husband did not know of her vow. He 
had different plans. He could not bear to see his 
wife showing greater love to her brother than her 
own son. He wished to do away with his wife’s 
brother. But how to say this ? So the wily man 
thought of a trick to play on his wife. With an 
innocent face, he suggested to his wife : “Now that 
God has blessed us with a son, let us go to a temple 
and make an offering to Him.” 

The wife said : “All right.” She then prepared 
some Puranroth* as an offering for the God and 

* Sweetbread— a special Maharashtrian dish. 

a sister’s vow 


they set forth for the temple. She tied her son to 
her breast and her brother on her back. The 
husband said : 

“If we find the river in flood, drop the child you 
have on your back.” 

The wife got an inkling of her husband’s guile. 
When they came to the river, she swiftly changed 
their positions : the brother to the front and the 
son to her back. When they were midway in the 
river, the husband shouted : 

“Drop the child on your back in the river. 1 

have made a vow to the Goddess for this sacri- 

She was stunned for a moment. But there was 
no time to think. She had to keep* her word given 
to her dying mother and the solemn vow she had 
made before God. She remembered her mother 
and addressed herself to God : “Let my womb 
bear fruit again. I will be ever grateful to you.” 
Saying this, she kissed her child and with a harden- 
ed heart she released it into the river. Then sob- 
bing and embracing her brother tightly she offered 
a silent prayer : ' 



“O God, let m2 have a child again. Let my 
brother be with me for ever.” 


All the while the husband thought that his wife 
had sacrificed her brother to the river. He was 
happy to be rid of the nuisance. 

Day followed day. Years rolled by. Now she 
was blessed with five handsome, healthy sons. Her 
joy knew no bounds. Meanwhile, true to the 
word given to her mother, she brought up her bro- 
ther with great affection and care. 

The brother was now of an age to marry. , Out 
of several offers received from different villages, she 
selected a suitable girl as a bride for her brother. 
She clothed her sons with rich garments and her 
brother in gala attire. The marriage was celebrated 
with all pomp and show. Bedecked in finery and 
ornaments, she strutted in the marriage mandap 
with a sense of fulfilment. Now there was a dau- 
ghter-in-law in the house. The husband was 
gratified. He gloated over his son, as he thought, 
and his cjaughter-in-law. The wife rejoiced to see 
the brother and sister-in-law living in happiness. 
But she still kept the secret to herself. 

One day while she was grinding jawar on the 
hand-mill, she started singing ovis* which speak 
of a sister’s prayer for the love and long life to her 
brother. The husband, who was nearby, heard 
them and asked : 

“You are singing ovis to a brother. But where 
is the brother ?” 

Now she smiled. Now was the time to 
disclose her secret, she thought. She then asked 
the husband : 

“Whose marriage, do you think we celebrated 
with such pomp and show ?” 

* Couplets in which the folk-songs are usually composed. 

a sister’s vow 


“Why, our son’s ?” 


. “No, my brother’s,” she replied quietly. Then 
she told him all that had happened. The husband, 
naturally, did not relish the truth. He was very 

much upset. But there was nothing he could do but 
to fret and fume at his wife. 



But she did not bother. Later she disclosed 
the whole story to her brother, who was overwhel- 
med by hw sister’s affection for him. But they con- 
tinued to live happily ever after. 









DECEPTION gets its desert 


A Patil had two wives, Subhadra the elder and 
Sunanda the younger. Subhadra came from a 
rich family. Apart from her parents, she had four 
brothers and sisters. But Sunanda had no relations 
of her own on her mother’s side, and no parental 
home. On important festivals like Diwali and 
Dassera, Subhadra’s brother used to come with 
a bullock-cart to take her and the Patil to theii^ 
place. There the daughter and the son-in-law were 
treated to lavish hospitality. Poor Sunanda had 
to stay back alone. Where could she go ? She had 
no one. 


On one Diwali, Subhadra’s brother came as 
usual to take her and the Patil for the fesitivities. 
But the Patil who was somehow ; irritated, refused 
to go. So only Subhadra went with her brother. 

Now only Sunanda and her husband were left 
in the house. - But the Patil would neither take his . 
meal nor speak a word. After a prolonged entreaty 
by Sunanda, he at last said : “For this Diwali 
take me to your parents’ place.” In great anguish 
Sunanda replied r. “Where can I take you ? I have 
no parental house.” But Patil would not budge 
from his stand and only replied : “You must be 
having one.” The unfortunate Sunanda was in a 
fix. She did not know what to do. 

At last she asked her husband to get the bul- 
lock cart ready. When they mounted the cart, the 



husband repeatedly asked her : “Which way do 
we go ?” What could unlucky Sunanda say ? She 
started indicating at random any cart track that 
came in view. The cart was going up one hill 
and down another. They came to a thick forest 
where neither human beings nor birds were in 
sight. Big rivers were running through the jungle 
canopied by tall trees. By and by they came to a 
big banyan tree under which there was an ant hill 
which was a cobra’s abode too. When she saw a 
big hole she thought that if she could put her hand 
in it and if the cobra bit her, that would be the end 
of her troubles. She asked her husband to stop the 
cart for a while. She got down, went to the hole 
and pushed her hand in as far as it could go. Her 
hand touched the cobra hood and she felt some 
sticky fluid clinging to her fingers. The cobra came 
hissing out of the hole. She was sitting with eyes 
shut, waiting for the bite. But she opened her eyes 
when the cobra addressed her : “Daughter, I was 
suffering from a very painful boil on my hood for a 
number of days. It burst with the touch of your 
hand. I am cured. The pain has left me. I will 
ever be grateful to you. Ask for a boon. I will 
fulfil it.” 

She was overjoyed. She said : “I have no 
relations on my mother’s side. I am an orphan. 
Now you be my father and brother. My husband 
insists that I take him to my parental home. Where 
can 1 take him ? I have none, please give me 

“Daughter,” said the cobra, “I will give you 
a parental home and brothers. But on one condi- 
tion. You should stay there only for four days 
and must leave on the fifth day before day-break.” 

Sunanda nodded her head in agreement. 

“Then you go along this track for some distance 
till you come to a well. There you will meet your 





brothers.” With this the cobra crept back in the 

Sunanda asked the husband to drive the cart 
as directed by the cobra. Soon they came to a 
well near which stood a palace and beyond it a 
tidy town. Sunanda told her husband that this 
was her home. Hearing the sound of the approa- 
ching cart, five people rushed out of the palace to 
receive them, addressed Sunanda as ‘sister’ and her 
husband as ‘brother-in-law.’ It was all very strange 
to the Patil. It occurred to him that he had never 
received such a warm reception at Subhadra’s place. 
The brothers then escorted the sister and brother- 
in-law into the palace. 

Sunanda’s sisters-in-law washed her feet 
with warm water and gave hot scented water for 
their bath. After the bath they were treated to re- 

On Bhau-Beej day after Diwali, she performed 
arati and wished well of her brothers when each of 
them presented her with a gold ornament. Her 
sisters-in-law showered her with rich clothes. Her 
father gave her a pearl necklace. After two days, 
when Sunanda and her husband wanted to re- 
turn home, they were pressed to stay on for two 
more days. On the fifth day they left before day- 

When they had gone a short distance, Sunanda 
asked the husband to halt the cart. She said that 
she would go and bring her necklace, which she 
had forgotten, and return in no time. When she 
reached the palace, she took the cobra father aside 
and asked him : “What will I do if my husband 

asks again to come here for next Diwali ?” The 
cobra told her : “Do not worry, my daughter. Go 
two miles from here and at the second mile both 
of you turn back and look. It will solve your 

When at the second mile they looked back on 
the pretext of bidding a final farewell, they saw the 
palace and the town in grip of a raging fire. In no 
time it was all turned to ashes. 

Soon after reaching home, Subhadra the 
elder wife also returned from her place. When the 
Patil with great gusto narrated to her the story of 
Sunanada’s parental home, she was puzzled for she 
knew that Sunanda had no one. When Subhadra 
questioned her, the guileless Sunanda told her 
everything. Subhadra committed to memory all 
that she had heard from Sunanda. 

Days and months passed. Came Diwali, Sub- 
hadra urged on her husband to go to her place for 
Diwali. They mounted the cart and the Patil took 
the known route to her place. But she forced 
him to change it and follow the route given by 

After travelling for some time in the thick 
forest, they came to the banyan tree under which 
she saw the cobra abode. She asked her husband 
to halt the cart some distance from the spot and 
wait for her there. She went to the hole and push- 
ed her hand inside. When her hand touched the 
hood of the cobra, the poisonous reptile rushed out 
hissing. When he saw her, he knew the deception 
she wanted to play on him. In anger, the cobra bit 
her hand and disappeared in the hole. 

The Patil found her dead body lying under the 
banyan tree. 




the thousand- killer 


man called ‘Hazar-Marya’ lived in R ajpur 
x * town. His only pursuit was to kill one thousand 

sco!d him and urge him to do some useful work or 

at least cut some wood for fuel from the w y 
forest, but he always turned a deaf ear. He roamed 
about in the town and forest in search o f fl ic^ 
He would return home for his meal only after 
he had killed one thousand flies So, the whole 
town knew him as Hazar-Marya. 

One day a powerful enemy invaded the town. 
The king became panicky. He called his minister 
and said 8 : “We have no General, no adequate army 
no bows and arrows and not evenenoughelep^ 
ants and horses. What should we do . Thy 
berated over the problem for a long tim ^ Sf 

™aid : “Sir do not worry. We have one Hazar- 

Marya in our kingdom. Call him and he will tak 

care of the enemy.” 

The king summoned Hazar-Marya and ordered 
him to be ready for war and face the enemy, 
soon as he heard the king’s order, he was 
struck dumb. Because of fright he could no 
utter a single word. The king lost his tempet and 

* Hazar(Thousand), Marya (Killer). 

angrily said : “Do as you are ordered or 1 will 
chop your head off.” 

Hazar-Marya started running for his home and 
the king ran after him. It was as if there was a race 
between the two. 

Hazar-Marya told his wife all that had hap- 
pened. She was a clever and courageous woman. 
She told him in the presence of the king : “Do 
not worry. Take up the challenge. You will be 
victorious.” The king was overjoyed at this. Hazar- 
Marya agreed to do whatever his wife told him. He 
thought this was better than losing his head at the 
king’s hands. 

The following day the king collected an army 
of sorts and appointed Hazar-Marya as its General. 
With a bow in his hand and a quiver of arrows tied 
to his back, he mounted a horse. But his wife 
took the precaution of tying him firmly to the horse. 
She explained : “I have tied you to the horse, so 

that in your enthusiasm you may not leave the 
horse and start attacking the enemy on foot.” But 
she actually did this in order to prevent him from 
leaving the horse and running away. With this 
preparation the battle started. The two forces 
stood face to face. The arrows went zooming at 
each other. The men started falling dead to the 
ground. Hazar-Marya' s men ran away from the 
battlefield in panic. But Hazar-Marya's horse had 
gone berserk and ran like wildfire directly towards 
the enemy. 

In a panic-stricken state he happened to pass 
through a grove of bamboo trees. He clutched the 
trees with both the hands so that he could free him- 
self of the horse. But he was so firmly tied to it 
that he could not come off the horse. Instead the 
bamboo trees which were by chance old and rotten, 
were easily uprooted and came in his hands. Thus 



Hazar-Marya presented a formidable sight to the 
enemy. He looked like a mighty warrior, with trees 
m both hands charging at the enemy. The sight 
put them to fright. The enemies turned back and 
fled, leaving the battlefield to Hazar-Marya and his 

The king gave him a hero’s welcome. He was 
taken out in a processioi on an elephant and re- 
warded generously in money and kind. 

From that day he gave up his pursuit of fly- 
killing. He listened to his wife and occupied him- 
self in gainful employment. They lived happily 


R ING Risal and his lovely queen ruled over a 
small kingdom. One day while they were 
strolling in their garden which was some distance 
away from the palace, they noticed a pair of birds 
sitting on the branch of a tree. “What are these 
birds ?” they asked each other. The king said: 
“They are eagles.” “No, they arc geese,” the queen 

They had a long argument over it, yet they 
could come to no conclusion. Neither would 
accept the verdict of the other. Finally they laid a 
wager. The king said in heat : “If these birds are 
ndt found to be eagles, then I will roam about into 
twelve villages collecting rags of cloth, make a 
garment of them and, wearing it, leave the king- 



The queen also said spiritedly : “if these bird 
are not geese, I will collect rags from twelve 
villages, s>w a sari out of them and leave the king- 


Next day four servants from the palace, two of 
them king’s atd the other two of the queen, set 
out towards the garden. They were to find out the 
truth by talking \o the birds. The servants asked 
them : \ 

to ?” 

Broticrs, which bird-order do you belong 






The birds replied : “We are geese.” 

The queen had won. Her servants wended 
their way in a happy mood, while the king’s men 
went dejected. While on their way, the queen’s ser- 
vants felt very hungry and they found all their food 
finished. As they could not hold their hunger, they 
asked for some food from the king’s servants. The 
king’s servants said : We are willing to give you 
our food on one condition. If you tell in the court 
that the birds were eagles and not geese, you will 
get everything that we have.” 

“We will tell as you say,” the queen’s men 

Then all the four went to the king and told him 
that the birds were eagles. 

The king had won. He then asked his wife to 
fulfil her pledge. The queen, true to her word, 
left the palace, begged rags from twelve villages, 
and putting on the sari made out of rags, went to 
stay in the jungle. j 

Now when she left the palace the queen was 
pregnant. In fullness of time, a son was born tp 
her. A small child in her hands added more misery 
to her life in the jungle. But she bore her misfor- 
tune bravely. 

Thus twelve years passed. 

One day a hunter came to their r^rt of the 
forest. He was very thirsty but he couU not find 
any spring or stream nearly. Whence happened 
to see the queen sitting under a tre/ he thought 
it very strange that such a beautiful, woman 
should be staying alone in a jungle/ Whea he ask- 
ed her to give him some water, sl^ pointed to her 
hut and said : 

The hunter went to the hut where he met the 
son and requested him to quench his thirst. But 
the son said: “We have no one. We live here alone. 
I will give you water on the condition that you take 
us with you from here.” 

The hunter readily agreed because he was a 
rich zamindar and he already felt pity for the 
mother and the son. 

The son then said some words loudly and 
struck the ground with his right foot, and a spring 
gushed out of the earth. The hunter quenched his 
thirst. He took both of them to his village. When 
the villagers saw their master accompanied by a 
beautiful woman and a boy, they said : “The mas- 
ter has brought a fairy from the forest,” and they 
greeted her with great honour. 

The zamindar got a new palace built for the 
queen and her son. But the queen did not live 
long to enjoy the happy turn of her fortune. She 
fell ill and while dying, she cursed the birds : 

“As you have caused me to be turned out of 
my home and made me wander from place to place, 
so you too will never live in houses but wander 
from place to place.”' 

Since then the birds have no permanent 
homes and they never rest long at one place. Poor 
birds who spoke the truth had to carry the curse 
of the queen while the servants who told lies went 

Such is the way of the world ! 

“Go to my son. He will give it.” 



'T’HERE was a large family of Kunbis* in a village. 
A The family comprised of the Kunbi (head of 
the family), his wife, three sons, three daughters-in- 
law and the youngest child, a daughter in early 
teens. With his fields, farms and cattle he was 
making a satisfactory living. As the father was 
getting on in years, his eldest son was looking after 
the affairs of the farms and the family. One day 
he said to his wife : ‘‘Look, since both of us have 
become old, let us go on a pilgrimage to Varanasi. 
We will need someone to assist us. So we will take 
with us the two younger sons and their wives. The 
eldest son and his wife will take care of the farm 
and the household. We will leave behind our dar- 
ling daughter to assist the daughter-in-law.” The 
wife agreed to the proposal thought she was rather 
reluctant to leave her daughter behind. But she 
had to concede since the eldest daughter-in-law 
insisted on having someone to help her. 

Going on a pilgrimage to distant places was not 
so easy in those good old days. There were no 
proper roads nor conveyances. For people in Vid- 
arbha it took about one year for the round trip to 
a distant place of pilgrimage. On an auspicious 
day they set out on their journey. 

Now the eldest son of the house was a simple 
soul but His wife was a shrew. While the husband 

* Kunbi — Agricultural class in Maharashtra. 

1 2 * 



was busy the whole day in the fields, the wife would 
harass the little sister in all possible ways and bur- 
den her with arduous household duties. Not con- 
tent with this, she used to tell all sorts of lies, 
against the sister, to her husband on his return in 
the evening. The brother would then abuse his 
sister and sometimes even thrash her mercilessly. 
The poor girl had no one to look up to. She bore 
the ill-treatment in silence. 


One day the sister-in-law sent the girl to the 
tank with a bundle of dirty clothes for washing, 
saying : “the clothes should not touch a slab of 
stone, nor water, but they should come back 
clean.” The girl came to the tank and started 
weeping. She did not know what to do. A washer- 
man heard her weeping and asked her the cause of 
her sorrow. She weepingly narrated the whole 
story and asked : “Well, Dhobi Dada, how can I 
wash the clothes under such conditions ?” The 
washerman took pity on her and washed the 
clothes clean for her. She then took the bundle 
and went home. 

On another day the sister-in-law sent her to 
fetch water from the tank. She gave her a pitcher in 
which she had secretly struck two holes at the bot- 
tom. The poor girl would fill the pitcher but the 
water would gush out through the holes. She 
started crying helplessly. The frogs in the tank 
asked her the reason for crying. On hearing her 
story two small frogs plugged the holes by sitting 
on them, which enabled her to fill the pitcher and 
carry it home. 

The third time the sister-in-law gave her a coun- 
ted number of grains of paddy to dehusk into 
riec. But she told her : “Do not use a pounder. 
Do not use a mortar. Not a single grain of rice 
should be less.” She went with the basket of grain 
to a neighbour’s courtyard and started weeping. In 




the hope of getting some grains, a number of spar- 
rows started frolicking round her. But when they 
heard her crying and knew the cause, they dehus- 
ked the entire paddy with their beaks. But one 
sparrow, could not resist the temptation of swallo- 
wing one grain. She collected the rice and gave it 
to the brother’s wife. On re-counting the sister- 
in-law found one gram less. She abused the sister 
and ordered her to bring it back. The girl went to 
the courtyard again to search for that one grain 
Th P S P^I 0WS soon gathered round her and enqui- 

[^ : t^ Wh ^ are y° u J searching for ?” When she 
told them, they started making enquiries among 

themselves and ultimately traced the guilty sparrow 
They made it throw up the grain of rice, which the 
girl picked up and brought home. 

Now this sister-in-law was still childless. All 
sorts of Mantras, poojas , and rituals were of no 
avail. One day she went to a village witch for 
guidance who prescribed her a ritual : ‘‘Put on a 
choli soaked in human blood on a new moon night 

^f , at hour of midnight make twenty-one 
rounds of the peepal tree near the tank. Do this 

and you will be blessed with a child.” 

She felt very happy. She saw dreams of be- 
coming a mother. But how ? Where could she get 
human blood ? She taxed her brain for a consi- 
derable time and urged upon her husband for the 

sister s blood. The husband did not like the pro- 
posal initially. She nagged him daily. He was a 

weak man. He also desired a child. Ultimately 
he succumbed to her pressure. 

Next day on the pretext of taking her to her 
maternal uncle, he took her to the forest. But as 
he had some soft corner for the sister in his heart, 

q! un, ”, ot sum 1 raon enough courage to kill her. 
So he hilled a cock, soaked his wife’s choli in the 

cock s blood and leaving the crying sister in the 



forest went home. The wife was overjoyed; but 
soon a streak of doubt began to trouble her heart. 
She asked him : “I doubt if you have soaked the 
choli in your sister’s blood. Bring me your sister’s 
head to prove you have killed her, otherwise I will 
drown myself in the tank.” The husband felt help- 
less. He went back to the spot where he found his 
sister still weeping, killed her and brought the dead 
sister’s head to his wife. He wife could not contain 
herself for joy. She went twenty-one times round 
the peepal tree near the tank and threw the sister’s 
head in the tank. Soon the head bloomed into a 
beautiful red lotus. When some neighbours enqui- 
red about the sister she told that she had gone 
to her maternal aunt’s place. 

Some days later the pilgrims returned home. 
After a pilgrimage, it is customery not to return 
straight to your home but stay on the outskirts for 
a while. So the party camped by the side of the 
same tank and sent a message to the villagers about 
their arrival. All the villagers turned up to give 
them a welcome. The eldest son and his wife were 
also there. But the young daughter was nowhere to 
be seen. When the mother asked, she was told that 
she was at her maternal aunt’s place. 

Then every member of the pilgrimage party 
took bath in the tank. When the father saw the 
beautiful lotus flower, he went near it to pluck it. 
But it eluded him by moving from place to place 
and saying in a soft voice : 

“Brother killed sister. 

To soak wife’s choli in blood 

Touch me not, Oh father !” 

The father was perplexed. 


When next the eldest daughter-in-law tried 
to reach the flower, it darted away and shouted in 
anger : 



“Brother killed sister, 

To soak your choli in blood 
Touch me not, O, wicked woman !” 

When the same stdry was repeated with every 
member of the family, the mother suspected that 
there was some foul play. She herself entered the 
tank and attempted to touch the flower, but it es- 
caped saying : 

“Brother killed sister v 
To soak wife’s choli in blood 
Touch me not, Oh ! my mother.” 

The mother then asked : “If I am really your 
mother, why should you fear to come near me ?” 
At this the lotus slowly came near her. The moment 
the mother touched the flower there emerged a 
small figure which gradually transformed itself into 
the. missing daughter. Everyone was astounded. 

When the daughter narrated the whole story, 
the father drove the ungrateful son and his wife out 
of the house. 



COON after the coronation of Shivaji as Chhatra - 
^ pati , a capital complex was built at Raigarh 
with three hundred spacious buildings, a temple to 
God Jagadeeshwara and a huge tank. The tank, 
named Kushavarta , was full of varieties of lotus 
plants. It was a quiet evening in the month of 
Kartik when Shivaji and his mother Jijabai saw 
the tank abloom with beautiful blue, white and red 
lotus flowers. 

• * 

The mother said : “The holy day of Vaikunta 
Chaturdashi is very near, Shivaba.” 

Shivaji replied : “Yes, Masahib, I have heard 
that it was on that day that God Vishnu worship- 
ped God Shiva with one thousand lotus flowers. 
When he fell short by one flower, he made it up b’ 
offering one of his eyes.” 

*‘It is my desire,” said Jijabai, “that I should 
worship God Jagadeeshwara with a thousand white 
lotus flowers from our tank on that day.” Shivaji 
assured her that he would see to it. 

But Jijabai wondered how it could be done. 
“It is not as simple as you think. For this Pooja 
I want fresh and pure flowers, not only unsmelt, 
but also not made impure by the thought of the 
Pooja in the mind of the man who plucks them. But. 
when anyone gathers the flowers, he will be inevit- 
ably thinking of the Pooja to God. As soon as 
he touches the flower, he will have unknowingly 





offered it to ‘Him* in his mind. So what I then get 
for my Pooja will be nothing better than the 
impure, second-hand flowers already mentally 

Shivaji realised the difficulty. It was not 
possible for his mother at her age to gather a thou- 
sand flowers by herself, and if he had to get them 
plucked by another person, he could not find a way 
out of the difficulty. 

Next day Shivaji summoned his court and 
confronted them with his mother’s wish and her 
predicament. They heard Shivaji solemnly but none 
could suggest a solution. 

At last a young man rose and said : “Your 
Majesty, it is my humble request to you to see 
how I use my skill to gather one thousand white 
flowers untouched by hand with stems of the same 

Everyone was curious to know who this rash 
young Maratha was. Someone in the court identi- 
fied him as Vikram Dalvi of the Maharaja’s person- 
al bodyguard. 

Shivaji warned him : “Vikram, you know 

what you have said. You will have to stand by 
every claim you have made. Otherwise, there will 
be heavy punishment.” 

On the appointed day at sunrise, Vikram 
came to the tank with a bow and a thousand 
arrows. Shivaji, his mother and members of the 
royal family as well as all the courtiers had come 

out of curiosity to see how Vikram honoured his 

After touching the feet of Jfijabai and Shivaji, 

he laid himself flat on the ground. Then estima- 
ting the distance and length of the stem, he started 
felling white flowers with bow and arrow. One 
arrow, one flower. His arrows fell like rain. His 

concentration was so intense that he was oblivious 
of everything around him. He was only seeing 
the exact spot of the stem where the arrow had to 
pierce it. 

When all his one thousand arrows were used 
up, he went in a boat and picked up all the flowers 
with a pair of tongs. He also collected all the 
arrows that were floating on the surface of the 

Shivaji acclaimed his performance, but what 
Jijabai said was more to the point. “Vikram’s 
concentration was so acute,” she said, “that he was 
not aware of anything except a. particular point on 
the stem. Neither thought of Pooja nor God could 
have touched his mind.” 

Vikram requested Shivaji to check if the flower 
stems were of the same length. Shivaji asked one 
of his officers to measure the lengths of the stems. 
He reported that they were of the same length. 
Everyone, including Shivaji and Jijabai, were lost in 
amazement at this wonderful performance. 

Shivaji publicly honoured Vikram by placing 
a gold and emerald necklace round his neck with 
his own hands. 





I T happened not very long ago, just in the 
middle of the last century, when areas on 
the outskirts of Maharashtra were infested with 
thugs and dacoits. Bands of these marauders used 
to raid the villages, terrorise the people and take 
away their valuables. The police arrangements were 
very poor. The people had to defend themselves 
by forming their own resistance groups. But many 
times they had to flee their homes in order to save 
their lives. 

In a certain area a dacoit-chief had become 
quite notorious. He held the people residing there 
in constant terror. From villages he very soon 
spread his activities to the nearby towns. He had 
now become so bold that he used to send advance 
intimation to the people as to when he would 
raid and which houses he would loot. If an effort 
was made to remove the valuables from the houses 
or call the police, the victims had to face more 
severe reprisals. There was thus no way out 
but to allow onself to be plundered or offer what- 
ever resistance one could by mustering men ready 
to fight. But the dacoits would always succeed at 
the end. 

One day a rich man named Bapurao received 
word that his house would be attacked that night. 
He was also given the usual warning : “If you try 
to deceive by removing the ornaments from your 

house or inform the police, you will be given a 

Bapurao turned pale when he heard it. He 
had a big haveli of his own and a brigade of ser- 
vants working in his house. His coffers were full. 
He was mighty afraid. But his wife Parvatibai 
was a very courageous and clever woman. When he 
broke the news to her she asked him : “What do 
you propose to do ?” 

“Surely I am not going to yield to these 
plunderers ! I will collect men from the town and 
along with the servants give them a fight. What do 
you think ?” 

“I think there is no use giving an unequal 
fight. After all the dacoits are better armed, and 
more accustomed to fighting. They will overpower 
you in no time.” 

“But what else can we do ?” asked Bapurao. 

“I think we should outwit the dacoits by some 
strategem,” said Parvatibai thoughtfully. 

“But how ? Should we hide your jewel- 
box somewhere. . . say in the dung-heap in the cattle- 
shed ?” 

“Let me think,” she said, “till then you do 
whatever you think proper. I will fight them in my 
own way. Don’t worry.” 

Bapurao felt a little reassured and he went 
about the town in search of men to help him, while 
Parvatibai sat a long time thinking. Soon the 
evening advanced. Bapurao came back and told 
his wife : “I have collected some twenty men. We 
will hide in the woods near the village-border 
and attack the dacoits before they can enter the 

Saying this he took four servants and several 
weapons and went away. 



It was now dark and the whole village seemed 
to lay silent and expecting. 

Parvatibai then called her maidservants and 
the two cooks and ordered them : “Preparea royal 
meal for fifty persons. Time it in such a way 
that it should be ready to be served hot by about 

The servants were surprised but they went 
their way and set to work. Parvatibai supervised 
the preparations. When the meal was almost 
ready and the plantain-leaves and seats for fifty 
persons were laid for supper, she put on a new 
sari, and except the mangalsutra , took off all her 
ornaments and arranged them in a thali along with 
her other jewelry. She then sat waiting. 

When it was midnight she heard the distant 
noise of horses’ hoofs and sabre-rattling. Soon the 
noise began coming closer and closer. Suddenly 
there was a loud knock on the door. Her heart 
almost stopped beating, but the next moment wear- 
ing a calm and eager expression on her face, she 
hurriedly went to the door nnd opened it. Before 
her stood a large man with a ferocious look, with a 
naked sword in his hand. Parvatibai was scaredbut 
summoning courage she said sweetly : 

“Come in brother. Please do come in.” 

The dacoit was taken aback by this address. 
But before he could open his mouth Parvatibai 
said : , 

“I have been waiting for you and other bro- 
thers since I received your message this morning.” 
The dacoit stopd staring at her, surprised at 
this unusual welcome. 

“Please come in. And don’t waste time. 
Wash your hands and feet. The supper is ready. 
Have a hearty meal before you do your work.” 


The dacoit-chief was still hesitating. But she 
made them sit on the seats and ordered the servants 
to serve them hot food. While they were eating, 
she personally attended each one and pressed them 
to eat some more, and not feel shy. When they 
finished their supper, she brought the plateful of 
ornaments and placing them before the dacoit- 
chief told him : “Brother, this is all that I have got, 
But I have kept back only one piece for myself.” 
She indicated towards the Mangalsutra on her 
neck and said : “It is a sacred marriage-token 
which I wear for the long life of tny husband and 
I pray that you should spare it.” 

The dacoit-chief could contain himself no 
more. With a catch in his voice he said : 

' f 

“Of course I will- spare it. We have eaten 
your salt and we are never unfaithful to those 
whose salt we have eaten. What’s more, you have 
called me brother and given me a brother’s wel- 
come. From today you are my sister and I will see 
that no harm comes to you.” Saying this he retur- 
ned the plate of ornaments to her and ordered his 
fellow-dacoits to bring in her husband who was 
laying on the roadside along with others tied 
hand and foot. He then set them free and depart- 

• » » 

Great was the surprise of the villagers when 
they heard the story next morning. Since then no 
dacoit attacked Parvatibai’s house, and even 
today the grandmothers of the village tell her story 
to their grandchildren. 




T HE Bhil God— Bhagwan—created the earth and 
on the earth he created two human beings, a 
male and a female. They lived as brother and 
sister and were very happy. They were kind and 
generous to other creatures. The brother used to go 
out for work, while it fell to the girl’s lot to draw 
water. While going to the river she would take rice 
with her and feed the fish. This went on for a long 

So the queen-fish Ro, very pleased with the 
girl’s generosity, one day asked her : 

“Maiden, what reward do you desire? If you 
have thought of anything definite, tell me. I shall 
fulfil it.” 

“I have thought of nothing,” replied the girl. 

So the queen fish told her : “Through water 
and rain the earth will soon be turned upside down. 
Ask your brother to make a cage, and keep pump- 
kin seeds with you. When it begins to rain 
you and your brother should step into the cage, 
taking the seeds and water with you. Also do not 
forget to take a cock with you.” 

Very soon rains began to fail, slowly at first, 
then in torrents, as if the heaven and earth had 
merged together. For days, the brother and sister 
floated in their cage, taking the seeds, water and 
the cock with them. At last the rains stopped, the 

deluge subsided and they found their cage perched 
on a rock. Soon their cock crowed. 

And they heard Bhagwan speaking : “Thus 
have I turned the world upside down. But has 
anyone survived ? The crowing of the cock tells me 

of it.” 

The Bhagwan himself went to find out. When 
he saw the cage, he enquired : 

“Is anyone inside ?” 

The girl answered : “We are inside— 1 and my 

Bhagwan found within the cage the young 
couple in full prime and strength of life. He asked 

them : 

“I have destroyed the whole world. Who 
warned you of the deluge and gave you advice to 
make such a cage ? You must explain the mystery 

to me.” 

The girl replied “It was the fish Ro who instruc- 
ted me.” 

Bhagwan called the fish and asked : Was it 

you who brought the knowledge to these two / 

“Oh no, Lord Father, not I,” protested the 

But when Bhagwan beat the fish, she finally 
confessed : “Yes, Lord Father, I did really do it.” 

Bhagwan was very angry. He said : “Had 
you at once confessed the truth, nothing would 
have happened to you.” And saying this he cut off 
its tongue and threw it in water. Since then the Ro 
fish have remained without a tongue. 

Then Bhagwan looked at the girl and the youth 
and was pleased with them. He turned the girls 
face to the east, the man’s to the west. Then he 



again made them turn and face each other. Then 

he asked the man : 

“Who is she ?” 

ma 1 n ’ i°°ked at the girl, was aware 

of a very strange feeling in his heart. He replied : 
one is my wife. 

“Who is this r he asked the girl and 
too conscious of a new feeling said : 

“He is my husband.” 

Then God made them man and wife. 
Thus this couple started the human race. 


I N the city of Hyderabad there is a shoulder-high 
piece of massive rock jutting out of the earth. 
It is commonly known as Lakshmi’s rock. In 
Marathwada, which was foimerly a part of 
Hyderabad State but now in Maharashtra, there is 
a legend about this rock. 

In olden days Hyderabad was known as Vasu- 
mati Nagar. At that time Hyderabad, though the 
capital city of Nizam’s dominions, was not such a 
big city as it now is. But by the standard of those 
times it was quite a big town. Under the Nizam’s 
benevolent rule the people were happy, particularly 
in the capital city. Nobody was in want. Even 
poor people could afford to feast on puran-poli* 
and other delicacies on festival days. It was a 
common belief that Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of 
wealth) was staying in the city as the guardian 
angel of the dominion. 

Later on when sin and evil became rampant, 
she, in anger, decided to leave the city. 

At the site where the present Char Minar 
stands, there used to be a sentry-post. Everyone 
had to pass through the post whether going out or 
coming in. One day the sentry saw a tall and beauti- 
ful lady of a noble family coming towards him. 
She was attired in a Maharashtrian nine-yard green 

* Puran-Poli—S weet Cake. Highly prized delieacy in Maha- 




sari, green choli , with green bangles on her wrists, 
a big sindur mark on her forehead, a pearl nose- 
ring, and silver anklets on her ankles. The sentry 
thought this was unusual. He could not understand 
why a lady of a high family should want to go out 
of the city alone without any escort. Since it was 
the king’s order that no one should be allowed to 
leave the city without his permission, the sentry 
respectfully asked : “Madam, do you want to go 
out ?” She replied “Yes.” 


“But no one can leave without the king’s 
permission,” said the sentry. “I will go and ask 
the king. But you must remain here till I return.” 
The lady nodded her assent and said : “Yes, I 
will,” whereupon the sentry left for the palace. 

The sentry ran to the king and narrated the 
story. He sought his permission for the lady’s exit. 
The king was puzzled. He could not make out 
who the lady could be. He was a very intelligent 
person. After deep thought he was convinced 
from the description of the lady that she was none 
other than Goddess Lakshmi leaving his kingdom. 

When the sentry asked again, the king said 
nothing but chopped his head off with his sword. 
Eveiyone in the court was astounded. No one 
could understand. The poor sentry had committed 
no fault. Why did the king cut off his head? One 
courtier summoned courage and asked the king, 
whereupon the king explained : “It is Goddess 
Lakshmi leaving our kingdom. Since she has pro- 
mised to stay at the sentry-post till the return of 
the sentry, I made it impossible for him to go back. 
Had the sentry returned, Lakshmi would have left 
our kingdom and with her our wealth and pros- 
perity. Gods are true to their words. Lakshmi will 
be waiting for him at the spot. Let us all go and see 
for ourselves.” 


When the king accompanied by his prime 
minister and noblemen went to the spot they saw 
the lady waiting there. But as soon as she saw 
the party approaching, she disappeared into the 
earth. A big piece of rock shot up in the place 
where Lakshmi was standing. 

This rock, known as Lakshmi’s rock still exists 
and is worshipped. 



IN a village in Marathwada there lived a brahmin 
named Gundoba Bhat with his family. After his 

daily worship of God Vaijnath, it was his practice 

to iced some individuals. He was a very pious and 
generous man. 

But his wife did not approve of his feeding a 
person every day She considered it an unnecessary 
waste. She calculated that if she could somehow 
put a stop to it, there would be considerable saving 
whereby they could become rich. But she could 

her husband ^ d ° anything a S ainst the wishes of 


One day while he was on his way to the Vaij- 
nath shrine, he met a poor brahmin. After making 

KW enquiries he pressed the poor brahmin 
to take his meal with him. He said : “You please 

t0 e ' * . be back home in no time 

r n C L d u ,r 5 8 u he po °j a ” The poor brahmin reached 
Gundoba s house as directed. The wife naturally 

R ?,tS??L Wh ?* sh ^ w thQ visitor at the door - 

: Toda y Is a 8 ood day since my 

IS n ,°l h ° me * I . I ? ust ^t rid of the un- 
wanted guest by some trick.” 

Once the guest was inside, she welcomed him 
and offered him a glass of water. She then feigned 
weeping and started shedding crocodile tears. When 
the guest sympathetically asked for the reason the 
wile said sobbing : “It is my husband’s dail> prac- 
tice to bring a guest on the pretext of feeding him 



Then he ties him to a post and thrashes him with 
a grain-pounder. That is why brahmins avoid our 
house. That is the reason for my sorrow. But I 
am helpless. I can say nothing.” 

The demoralised guest prostrated himself be- 
for the lady and begged her to save him. The 
wife then let him out of the house through the back; 

When Gundoba, on his return enquired about 
the guest, his wife said : “What a strange person 
today’s guest was. As soon as he came in, he asked 
me for a grain-pounder and a piece of strong rope. 
As I was scared by the queer demand, I said no. At 
this, the fool left the house in towering rage.” 

Gundoba explained : “Probably he wanted 

these for some pooja. Give me the pounder and 
the rope. I will go and hand them over to him.” 
He took the articles and started running after the 
guest. Meanwhile the guest, walking leisurely and 
wondering about the strange ways of his erstwhile 



host, had covered some ground. When he happen- 
ed to look back, he saw Gundoba running after him 
with the pounder and the rope in his hands. When 
Gundoba shouted : “Please wait, I have brought 
the pounder and rope for you.” The frightened 
guest increased his speed and escaped. Poor Gund- 
oba returned home a sorry man particularly be- 
cause of the break in his daily practice, but his 
wife was happy that she had succeeded in her 



T Aat-Pat-Nagar there was a king. But he 
had no child. A sadhu used to come for alms 
to his palace. When the queen used to come to 
offer alms, he would refuse and walk away saying 
that he did not accept alms from a childless wom- 
an. She told this to the king. The king told her to 
hide herself behind the door and drop plenty of 
gold and jewels in his begging bag when he next 
came for alms. She did as told but when the sadhu 

discovered the trick played on him, he cursed her 

that she would never bear a child. 

She caught hold of his feet and begged for 
mercy. He said : “Ask your husband to put on 
blue garments, and go to the forest riding a blue 
horse. Dig the place where the horse stumbles. 
He will discover a Devi’s temple there. Ask him to 
offer prayers to the Devi who will bless you with a 

He went to the forest as directed by the sadhu 
and dug the place where the horse stumbled. He 
found a resplendent temple with a Devi installed. 

He sat in penance before the goddess for a 
long time. Ultimately the goddess was pleased and 
asked him to ask for a boon. He said that he had 
everything but he was not blessed with a child. 

The goddess said : “You are not destined 

to have a child. But since you have pleased me 
with your penance, I will bless you with one. If 



you choose a short-lived son he will be endowed 
with all virtues, a son with long life will be born 
blind and a daughter, will be a child widow. Now 
make your choice.” 

The king asked for the short-lived but 
virtuous son. The goddess told him : “Behind the 
temple there is an idol of God Ganesh and behind 
it a mango tree. Step on the generous belly of the 
idol, pluck a mango fruit and give it to your wife 
to "eat.” 

The king did so and his wife in due course gave 
birth to a son. The king and queen were overjoy- 
ed. They performed his thread ceremony when he 
was eight. At the age of ten, the queen wished her 
son to be married. But the king said that he had 
vowed to marry him only after his pilgrimage to 
Kashi. Soon after, the son accompanied by his 

maternal uncle set forth for 'Kashi. 


On their way to Kashi, they came to a town 
where they saw some girls playing. Very soon they 
began to quarrel among themselves and abuse each 
other. One of them said to the fair young girl : 
“You naughty girl, you will be a child widow.” 
The fair girl promptly retorted: “My mother is a 
devotee of Goddess Mangala Gouri. There never 
will be a widow in our family. After all I am her 

When the uncle heard this he thought : “If I 
marry my nephew to this girl, he will be long lived. 
But how to bring this about ?” 

The uncle decided to put a halt for the day 
in the town and lodged themselves in a dharmashala. 
It so happened that the fair girl’s wedding was to 
take place that evening. But somehow the bride- 
groom and his party failed to arrive. The parents 
were in a fix. They came to the dharmashala in 
search of a bridegroom where they saw the uncle 



and his nephew. They were impressed by the boy. 
They took him with them and married him to their 
iair daughter at an auspicious hour the same even- 
ts* They were made to sleep in the house of wor- 
ship near the idols of Shiva and Parvati. 

When they had retired for sleep Goddess 

Mangala Goon appeared to her in a vision and 

told her : “Oh my daughter, a serpent will come 

to bite your husband. Keep some milk ready for 

the snake to drink and a pot with a narrow 

mouth nearby. The snake will first drink the milk 

and creep into the pot. Cover the mouth of the 

pot with your bodice and tie it down firmly. 

Make an ottering of the pot to your mother in the 

She made the necessary arrangements and 
everything happened as she was told by the goddess. 
When her boy husband got up, she gave him some 
sweets to eat. He then gave her his ring, and joined 
his uncle on their onward journey to Kashi. 

In the morning, after taking her bath, the girl 

made an offering of the pot to her mother. When 

the mother opened the mouth of the pot, she found 

a precious necklace in it which she placed round 
her daughter’s neck. 

At this time, the original bridegroom came to 

the wedding mandap and sent for the bride to play 

some games which are customary at the wedding. 

I he girl refused to play with the boy saying, ‘this 

not my husband’ as he could not identify the ring. 

1 he parents did not know how to find their 

son-in-law. So they arranged a feast for brah- 

mms in which the girl would wash the feet of 

the brahmins while wearing the ring. This went on 

lor many days but no brahmin turned up to identi- 
fy the ring. 

9 m 



Meanwhile, the uncle and nephew reached 
Kashi where they worshipped the gods, distributed 
a lot of alms and charity and obtained blessings of 
the holy brahmins. One day the nephew fell down 
unconscious, as Yamaduta (messenger of the God 
of Death) had come to take away his life. But the 
Goddess Mangala Gouri intervened and fought 
a grim battle and drove the messenger of Death 
away. When the nephew regained consciousness, 
he narrated to his uncle what he thought he had 
seen as a dream. The uncle said : “It is all for the 
best. Your misfortune is over. Let us now return 

On their way home, they came to the same 
town and camped on the bank of a tank. When 
they were making preparations to cook their meals, 
some maid-servants came to them and said: “Please 
do not take the trouble to cook your own meals. 
There is a feast on at our master’s place. Please go 
and take your meals there.” 

They refused saying that as they were back 
from a pilgrimage to Kashi, they would not accept 
food cooked by others. When the maid-servants 
reported this to their mistress, she sent them a 
palanquin and persuaded them to come to 
her house. When the daughter bent herself down 
to wash the feet of the guests she recognised her 
husband and the nephew identified the ring. 

After the meals, the uncle and nephew accom- 
panied by the bride left for their home which they 
reached in due course of time. The uncle narrated 
to the king and queen all that they had gone 
through during their journey. The mother-in-law 
embraced her daughter-in-law lovingly and said : 
“You have pulled my son out of the jaws of death.” 
But the daughter-in-law modestly replied : “I have 



done nothing I am a devotee of Goddess Mangala 
Gouri. It is all Her doing.” 8<ua 


It is customary in Maharashtra for newlv 
married girls to worship Goddess Mangala Gouri 

in the month of Shravana. It if a common belfef 
that this ensures domestic happiness in general and 
long life to the husbands in particular. 





I N a town on the sea-coast of - Gomantak, there 
lived a merchant who had two wives. One was 
his favourite. The other was unwanted. The un- 
wanted one had a small hut on the outskirts of the 
town while the favourite had her palatial residence 
in the heart of the town. 

The merchant used to go abroad every few 
months in a ship in pursuit of his business. Before 
going abroad, he used to dole out to his unwanted 
wife a few measures of grain, while his favourite 
spouse was left in command of the sumptuously pro- 
vided mansion. It was the usual practice of the 
favourite to deride, ridicule, and even abuse the 
other wife. But the unwanted woman was endowed 
with considerable pluck and strength of mind. She 
bsed to clean and grind the corn on the chakki with 
her own hands. Out of the flour thus ground she 
would make bhakris* Out of these, she would 
make an offering to the Sun-God, then to the sacred 
Tulsi plant, then a portion she would feed to 
her cow and dog. She herself would eat last with 
contentment whatever was left over. If a guest or a 
beggar happened to come by she would feed him 
too, sometimes herself going without food. 

But the ways of the favourite wife were quite 
the contrary. No guest or visitor could ever 
enter her door. The usual reception for the dog 

* Bhakri — Thick coarse hread made of the flour of jawar 
of hajra. 



was a stick. The left-overs of her lavish meals were 
passed over to the temple as offerings. 

Once it came to pass that when the merchant went 
in his ship on the open- seas, the sea turned stormy 
and his ship began to sink. The merchant was in 
great panic. He brought to his mind the names of 
his pious father and mother, but it was of ho avail. 
Then he conjured up the name of his favourite wife 
and wished in his mind : “Let the ship come up.” 
But the ship sank deeper. Then in sheer despera* 
tion he took the name of his unwanted wife, and 
Lo ! the ship surfaced. His unwanted wife’s piety 
and love had saved him from the disaster. He now 
realised her true worth. 

When he returned home, he first went to his 
favourite wife. He asked her : “What acts of piety 
have you done in my absence ?” She smiled and 
told him all sorts of false tales. “I fed the guests 
with fresh meals cooked by me. I fed the stray 
cows and dogs with love and affection. I made 
offerings to God.” The merchant apparently took 
it as truth and forgot all about the incident. When 
he went on another voyage the same thing happen- 
ed again. It now made him think. He recalled how 
his unwanted wife’s name saved his ship. So he 
went to her hut and watched her from a hiding- 
place. He saw her making bhakris and stood there 
watching what was passing. Her first visitors were 
the Sun-God and the Tulsi Goddess to whom she 
offered pooja , sought their blessings for the long 
life of her husband and served them their portion 
of food. She then fed her cow and dog tenderly. In 
the meantime a beggar happened to come to whom 
she gave alms with a joyous heart. The merchant 
was deeply impressed. He came out of his hiding- 
place and stood before her, when she was about to 
make a meal of whatever was left. When she saw 
her husband she was overjoyed. She left her thali 
aside, washed her husband’s feet, sat him on the 



wooden seat, drew rangoli round his thali i burnt 
an incense-stick and then served him respectfully 
her own food. She herself went without food that 

The merchant was overwhelmed by her piety. 
He took her out of the hut and seating her on his 
elephant, marched in a procession to the town. He 
heard people standing on both sides of the road 
saying : “She is a real pious woman.’* They then 
presented her rubies, pearls and gold coins and 
grain, whatever they had. 

When the favourite wife came to know of this 
she rushed to the scene and hurled abuses at the 
merchant. The merchant could contain his anger 
no longer, so he cut her nose and ears, took her 
out in a procession on a donkey and drove her out 
of his house. But the other wife took her to her 
house and nursed her to health with great care and 
affection. She told her husband : 

“In my house, love and affection will reign.” 

She reaped the reward of her good deeds and 
lived happily thereafter. 


| was a fishermen’s village. ‘Many fishermen’s 

. fam *fies were living there, building bamboo huts 

m the green verdure of the seacoast, since when no 

one knew, perhaps since ages, as all that they could 

remember was that their fathers and before them 

their grandfathers and great grandfathers were 
living there. 

Everyday they would put their boats to sea 

when streaks of red still lingered in the evening sky: 

and sail into the purple-red sea till it turned black. 

Then they would fling their nets wide into the sea 

and sit and wait singing songs they had heard their 

fathers sing, till the red to the morning appeared 

m the sky. Then they would draw their nets in and 
sail back home. 

They worked very hard and risked their lives 
for catching fish to feed the villages in the vicinity 
and the towns nearby. 

Sometimes they would go far into the sea to 

explore new waters. Some boats would bounder 

on the rock and someone would be drowned 

Sometimes they would be caught in a storm and 

get lost in the sea. Then there used to be weeping 

and wailing over the dead in their huts. A sadness 

would fill their hearts, but not for long. The wide 

expanse of the sea would stir their blood. For them 

it was the irresistible call of the sea and they would 
set sail again , 



Thus Antonio one day lost his father. His 
fellow-fishermen went to his house and told Anto- 
nio’s mother that his father’s boat had capsized in 
the raging sea and he was drowned; but they had 
somehow managed to bring his boat back to the 


Antonio and his mother wept bitterly for his 
father for a long while but the next day he gave the 
boat to the boat-menders and within a week the 
boat was ready again. 

In the evening when he was going to the 
market for purchasing a new net, he met the land- 
lord’s son. Antonio knew the landlord’s son well 
and they would always converse whenever they met. 
The landlord’s son asked Antonio : “What, are 
you purchasing a net ?” 

“Yes. Tomorrow I am going in my repaired 
boat to catch fish. Are you coming ?” 

“What ? In the sea ? Not me, I am scared.” 

“Scared ? Scared of what ?” 

“Scared of the sea, of course. I heard your 
father was drowned in the sea only last week.” 

‘‘So what ?” 

“Then aren’t you scared ?” 

“Why should I ? I am a fisherman’s son. 
Fishermen are not afraid of the sea.” 

“Now tell me, what was your grandfather ?” 

“He was also a fisherman.” 

“How did he die ?” 

“He was caught in a storm and never came 

“And his father ?” The landlord’s son asked 
in surprise. 

“He also died at sea. But he was more 
♦adventurous. He went beyond Colombo to the 


east coast of the country and became a pearl- 
diver. He was drowned. He went in and never 


came up.” 

“Strange ! What sort of people are you ? You 
always die at sea and yet go to it again and 
again !” The landlord’s son exclaimed. 

Now it was Antonio’s turn to riddle the > other 
fellow. After scratching his head for a while he 

asked : 

“I hear your grandfather passed away recently. 
Where did he die ?” 

“He died in his sleep at the house. He was 
old. When the servant went to wake him up he 

found him dead.” 

“And your great grandfather ?” 

“He was also too old and died in his house of 



“And his father ?” 

“I am told he had been ill for a long time and 
died at the house.” 

“My God ! They all died in the house. Even 
then you stay in the same hpuse. Aren’t you afraid 

of the house?” 

The face of the landlord’s son was a sight to 



T™ll a ? oId taIe wbicb has passed by word of 
mouth for generations in Goa. 

. oId well-to-do couple lived in a mansion 
rounded hv™ a ? ppli "8 Playground of water sur- 

groves. The daughters of the family were married 

Thf' 1h“ a “'”‘ l “ d ‘ “ " rn 

was simply bored by her loneliness. It was on rare 
t “ening 1 ^ ^ husband for * 

. was on one such evening, while thev were 
drinwJ^ th f balcon y si PP in g feni (the famous 

fading light of the evening that they cauvht a 

Sga s^a.-a text* 

Jr?,,. td sh ' 

iftas ™ a SiS .?£ i s 

a Victim of a cruel stepmother ? That apart, she 



was so charmed by his demeanour that she ended 
by asking him if he would like to stay with them. 
To this he readily agreed. She even forgot to ask 
him what type of work he could do. All. she was in- 
terested in was to have a son and a servant, some- 
one in the house, to relieve her of her loneliness. 
Now she did not care if her husband went out 
whenever and wherever he liked. 

He said his name was Tinku. Was it a Hindu 
name ? He. never identified his caste nor religion. 
But he so pleased his new masters by his hard work 
and ability to handle anything entrusted to him 
that they never asked him, not even when he 
absented himself from the family Rosary. Every 
evening when they assembled for the Rosary, the 
banging of the back-door was a signal that Tinku 
was out. The old couple felt hurt, no doubt, but 
they said nothing as the boy was really a windfall— 
areal Godsend. He cost them nothing but his 
food, of which he ate so little like a bird. And he 
was like a demon for work. They were so hypno- 
tised by his skill and adroitness that it never occur- 
red to them to ask any question even to themselves, 
let alone the boy. 

Ask him for firewood and there it was piled 
near the fire-place in a trice without your having 
even heard the working of the axe splitting the 
logs. If they asked him to fetch fish from the 
market, which was more than a mile away, it was 
there properly dressed in the kitchen, before they 
were half-way through the Rosary. They wondered. 
But they explained it away by saying that perhaps 
the distance appeared too long for their old, tired 

And for the old lady Tinku was full of pranks 
and mischiefs like a monkey. She had never seen a 
boy like him, not even one of her own sons who 
had died at the age of ten and was known as the 



naughtiest boy in the locality. When her husband 
grumbled at his pranks, she asked : “What do you 
expect of a boy so full of life ? Loll in the verandah 
and puli away at his cigarettes the whole day long’” 
Naughtier Tinku was better company. She felt as 
' ii she was twenty years younger. 

One day ,^ e sen t Tinku with a message 

to her daughter in another village, who had just 
given birth to a baby. With no means of modern 
transport the two-way journey took at least two to 
three days. But the boy who had left in the morn- 
ing was back well before nightfall, looking as fresh 
as ever. An incredible feat! Did he travel on 
wmgs ? Or was it one of his usual pranks ? Did he 
really visit the daughter or was he lazing about 
somewhere chain-smoking all the while ? But they 
could not deny the proof which he had brought 
with him— the reply from their daughter. 

Some months rolled by and the daughter 

t° VISlt her parents for the village feast. 
With her came her children, a boy and a girl aged 
about ten, besides the new-born baby. With his 
tncks and pranks, Tinku soon became the favourite 
of the children. In spite of this, there was no slack- 

e * ,n « 9, j i® household chores. He would entertain 
the children with his magic tricks. He would go 
in a dark room and glow like a man on fire : his 
eyes would appear to become big shining balls with 
an unearthly radiance. Once he picked up the baby 
and threw it up and the baby simply vanished— or 

so it seemed to the children. 

► ' 

But the daughter did not like these sinister 
tricks— though she did not say anything to her 
mother as she did not want to hurt her feelings, 
seeing that the boy was a great favourite in the 
house. The children all the while grew fonder and 
ionder of 1 inku. But one day the granddaughter 



noticed that Tinku was absent from the evening 
Rosary. Being a pious girl, she thought it odd. So 
the next day the girl with her brother tried to 
drag him to the prayer room. But he refused to 
yield. They rolled over him, dragged him by his 
hands and feet but with all their might they could 
not move him an inch. He seemed to weigh 
tons, as if rooted to the earth like a rock. But 
the daughter, when she heard this, did not like it at 
all. She saw something sinister in all this. In 
fact she had never taken to the boy from the very 
first day. 

Next morning she quietly slipped away to the 
church on the pretext of attending Mass, though 
her real intention was to consult the priest. She 
told him all that she had heard and seen. The 
priest thought for some time and resolved to 


Armed with holy water and some books, the 
priest came to the house in the evening. At the 
very sight of the priest Tinku seemed to cower; he 
drooped and turned pale. When the priest chant- 
ing his prayers, sprinkled Tinku with holy water, 
the boy with a shriek of agony burst into names 
and vanished into thin air, leaving behind the 
offensive odour of burning sulphur. 

The poor old lady could not be consoled for 
the loss of her companion. She burst into tears, 
clasping her hands in anguish. 

/(^o 2- 









Mangala Gouri 








A close-fitting blouse. 

Conquest of the world. 

Eleventh day of the Hindu Calender 
month of the bright and dark fortnight, 
generally observed as a day of fasting. 

Vermilion powder. 

Goddess of Wealth. 

One of the names of Lord Shiva. 

One of the names of Lord Shiva. 

Goddess of wealth and well-being 
worshipped on Tuesdays in the month 
of Shravan. 

The Wind-God. 

A festival of bullocks in which they are 
worshipped and taken out in procession. 

A festival of the farmers. 

Offering to God which is distributed 
among the devotees. 


Ornamental screen behind an altar. 

Bar or pub. 

A favourite deity in Maharashtra, suppos- 
ed to be an incarnation of Vishnu. 

Worship and ritual 



1. Ek ffota Raja, Maharashtra Rajya Lok Sahitya Samiti, 
Editor— Dr Sarojini Babar. 

2. Marat hit il Streedhan, Maharashtra Rajya Lok Sahitya 
Samiti, Editor — Dr Sarojini Babar. 

3. Marathwadyatil Lokakatha, Editor Y.M. Pothan. 

4. Lokakatha,. S.G. Date, 

5. Lokakatha Wa Lakageetan, V.V. Joshi. 

6. Vratanchya Kahanya. 

7. Sumbaran Mandile, Dr Sarojini Babar. 

8. Marathi Lokakatha, Dr Sarojini Babar. 

9. Konkanatil Aitihasik Katha, S.V. Awalaskar. 

10. Sanskrit ik Maharashtra Darshan Mala, Vora & Co., 
Publishers, Bombay-2. 

11. Myths of Middle India, Verrier Elvin. 

12. The Old Deccan Days, Mary Frere. 

1 3. Indian Antiquary, XI & III. 

14. Charitra Kosha, Chitrav Shastri. 

1 5. Modern Goan Short Stories, Edited by : Luis S. Rita Vas. 
(Published by Jaico, Bombay. ) 

16. Private Collection of Manuscripts of Goan Folk Tales, 
by B.B. Borker. 

17. Flame in the Night, (Life of St. Francis Xavier). 

Written by The Daughters of iSt. Paul (Published by 
St. Paul Publications).